Sunday, September 14, 2014

ROUNDUP: Amazing Fabrics

Bear with me - amazing is a bit hyperbolic…these fabrics aren't exactly the material equivalent of the Virgin Mary appearing in a grilled cheese, but they are fun to look at. Inspired by some vegetable themed fabric I purchased recently for a DIY circle skirt, I wanted to create this list of pretty, fun and all around cool fabrics for my fellow crafters out there. I could literally spend hours in the aisles of a fabric store, my necked craned sideways like I'm reading spines on library shelves, until I find THE ONE. There are too many good fabrics, and too few hours for sewing projects, so here I'll share with you the fabrics I have, want or wish I had the time to sew with.
1  //  2  //  3  //  4  //  5  //  6  //  7  //  8  //  9  //  10  //  11  //  12 
13  //  14  //  15  //  16  //  17  //  18  //  19  //  20  //  21  //  22  //  23  //  24

Are you working with any fabulous fabric right now? Got any cool fabric finds to share? Can you even imagine owning an ice cream sandwich print dress?!


Sunday, September 7, 2014

DIY: Hair Toner Adventures

I've been on a bit of a (overindulgent phrasing alert!) hair journey as of late, and en route from my trademark red mane to wherever I may land, I ended up somewhere I will kindly refer to as Orange Hair, USA. Okay, "orange" is sort of alarmist and panicky, but let's just say that where I was expecting to see golden sands, I instead got citrus groves.
Delicious, yes, but decidedly less appetizing growing out of your head.
In my years of hair dye adventures, I'd never allowed my hair to take the driver's seat, instead insisting on calling the shots and lead-footing all the way to burgundy, teal, purple, brown, blonde, clown red and every ill-advised stop at blue-black in between. This time, however, I'm suddenly carefree about where my hair may end up and have decided to just see how it reacts to processing. The only certainty is that it needs to no longer be red. I'm finally, after nearly a decade of on-again/off-again business, over red hair. (Mostly I just never want to clean up a bathroom that looks like a crime scene ever again.)

Maybe I'll see how close I can get to my childhood platinum, or maybe I'll go deep brown and look like I'm actually related to my family. My first step was simple: soap cap. A soap cap, or bleach bath, is a gentler way to lighten your hair than processing with just bleach. It involves mixing a batch of bleach and developer according to package instructions (I like Kaleidocolors in Violet and Salon Care 20 Volume Creme Developer), and adding an equal part, or more, of shampoo.
My preferred bleaching setup.
This mixture lightens hair without the harshness of normal bleach processing, but it also gives less effective results. I kept the soap cap on my hair for about 45 minutes (watching Blossom reruns, which is way darker/weirder than I remember, FYI), then waited another week to do the same (sans Blossom). I needed long process times because I'm lightening several shades and battling deep red box dye, which fades and bleeds right until you actually want it gone, and then decides to buy a 3-bedroom ranch style home and move in on your head. It won't budge! One more week and I did a third process, followed by Wella Color Charm T-18 Toner.
I figured by this point I'd be blinded by my flossy white locks, but was instead annoyed to see the aforementioned citrus groves, and planned to end it all with some ash brown dye. On a whim, I thought maybe I'd tint my brassy blonde with some DIY hair toner made from stuff I had around home. I know that sounds like the beginning of a horrifying anecdote (instead of the middle of a self involved hair essay!), but it actually worked out pretty well.

Purple tones neutralize yellow or brassy blonde because purple and yellow are complementary colors. I didn't want to chemically process my hair again just yet, and also didn't want to leave my apartment, so I whipped up a batch of what I hoped would be homemade purple hair toner.
The color wheel: not just for ninth grade art class!
In a perfect world this would've been more of a blue-ish purple since my hair was more orange than yellow (and blue and orange are complementary) but this is what I had on hand:

+ Purple Hair Dye (ion Color Brilliance in Lavender)
+ White Conditioner (cheap is fine)    + Mixing Bowl    + Tint Brush

Dump a bunch of conditioner in a mixing bowl and add a random blob of purple dye, like so:

Mix it all up until it's a lilac shade (I ended up making twice this much for my hair length).

Put it all over your hair - make sure to get it everywhere! Let it sit until you like the shade and then rinse well. I left mine on for 2 hours. Since "fun" color hair dyes are not really damaging (tons of people sleep in them!), my hair was fine afterwards.
I sectioned my hair to make sure I got it everywhere except my white-ish bangs, which would've turned purple.

My original strand test: after on the left, before on the right.
This stuff isn't going to lighten your hair, but it'll adjust the warmth. It probably won't affect SUPER brassy hair, but it made my hair feel like a real shade of blonde rather than an obvious work in progress. Plus, a total stranger got out of line at the grocery store to tell me that my hair color is, and I quote, "super pretty!" Honestly, that helped me feel better about my hair so if nothing else I encourage you to compliment strangers whenever the mood strikes because you could be saving them from dropping $18 on hair dye later that day.

Have you ever played hair chemist in your bathroom? Do you cut and/or dye your own hair? Can you believe how much I have to say about my hair? Please, shut me up by talking about your hair in the comments!


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

BEAUTY: Revlon ColorStay Ultimate Liquid Lipstick in Top Tomato // Review

I feel like I'm always trying to find the perfect red lip - the one that looks bold and crisp, stays put when I eat pizza (I feel like pizza is important enough to include in my list of demands) and doesn't strangle or dry out my lips. In my never-ending lipstick hunt I've found a few duds and a few solid players that I return to again and again, but I still haven't found the one.

Standard doe foot applicator.
I am always down to try a liquid lipstick because the saturated color and easier application tend to make for an awesome red lip. I picked up this Revlon ColorStay Ultimate Liquid Lipstick in the shade Top Tomato - a classic blue-based red - in the hopes that it would be my one and only. It claims to give 24 hours of color, which made me skeptical to say the least, but also made me wonder under what circumstances I might want to be red-lipped for a full, uninterrupted day. Considering that, I decided to test its power for a more reasonable 12 hours to see how it stood up to my life and lips. Here are the results:

Application: 10:00 AM
It applies very evenly and is super opaque. I applied 2 layers to get a denser color and had no issues (some other liquid lipsticks freak out when you layer them). Keep lips apart while its setting - a minute or two - because it can be a little sticky. Also, make sure to apply to each lip separately instead of rubbing lips together like some people do with tube lipstick, and use the tip of the applicator to get a crisp outline. 
In this close up, you can see that the color in the tube appears to have tiny glittery specs, but on my lips the color appears more matte. At certain angles, some shimmer can be detected, but at others it is definitely matte - I'm considering this the perfect in-between finish.

11:00 AM
The formula is fully set and feels pretty comfortable on my lips. It feels somewhat heavy, but not to the point of discomfort, and is still flexible enough to allow my lips to stretch and move without cracking or flaking. It does not feel dry or like it's strangling my lips, which is a claustrophobic feeling I've gotten from other liquid lipsticks. So far, so good!

12:00 PM
Still going strong two hours in.

1:00 PM
The first real challenge! I ate lunch (and drank a glass bottled Coke!) in the 1:00 hour, and noticed some definite signs of wearing around the edges of my lips. I could see by the bites of my sandwich that it was coming off on my food a bit. I don't like to think about how much lipstick I've eaten in my life. The wear was noticeable, but even (no ring around the lips situation).

2:00 PM
I guess this can't stand up to the almighty sandwich. Bummer. Still, for a full meal the wear is not awful and was definitely less noticeable from a normal distance than it is in this super closeup.

3:00 PM
It didn't continue to wear down after eating - just maintained the same wear. I'd planned to not touch up the color in any way during this test, but around this point I realized I didn't want to walk around with messed up red lips if I could help it. I touched up the edges and a bit in the middle of my lips, and I found that the color was able to cover smoothly and meld with the first layer(s) for a refreshed red lip. I was super impressed! With some other liquid lipsticks, when you try to apply more on top of the old layer it will get lumpy and just look terrible. This stuff looked fresh all over again. I took a gamble and it paid off!

4:00 PM
 Success! The reapplication was very impressive.

5:00 PM
Still going strong now that we're back on track.

6:00 PM
My lighting was getting worse, but my lipstick was still doing well.

7:00 PM
Getting sick of taking so many pictures of myself, but not getting sick of these ruby red lips!

8:00 PM
Wahhhhh! I made the mistake of eating again (stupid human tendency) and it was even worse this time. I tried to eat carefully, but we had Chinese takeout and it was too intense of a meal for this lipstick.

9:00 PM
Despite the horror show seen above, the color is still okay from a normal distance. I wouldn't wear it like this if I was out, but it isn't as bad as it looks up close.

10:00 PM
Same deal. Messy, but whatever. And now you know the truth about how many times per day I change my hairdo. Up, down, up, down, repeat.

Despite what I'd heard, this stuff can't really stand up to eating. Many lip colors can't, so this isn't a deal breaker for me necessarily. It probably isn't the one (if that even exists) but I'm happy to have it in my red lip arsenal. It also never felt dry or like I needed to top it with a balm, which is a HUGE win to me. Being able to reapply without gumming up the works is also fantastic.

This lipstick is AMAZING for a day or night out that doesn't include eating, like going for drinks or bowling or to a party. I've done all of those with 100% success. I know it can't stand up to food so I avoid wearing it when I'm eating or just know that I'll have to reapply. There's still huge value in this product to me.

The shade is similar to some other popular blue-based reds, so I swatched it here next to those (MAC Russian Red and Revlon Balm Stain in Standout) so you can see a true representation of the color.
Have you tried this stuff? Are you into liquid lipsticks in general? What is your ultimate red lip product? Please tell me!


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