Monday, September 26, 2011

DIY: Reconstructing a Vintage Skirt Into 3 New Pieces

I found this awesome vintage skirt at the Salvation Army for just $5.00 and even though it was too small and too long for me, I knew I had to have it. The fabric is so ornate and beautiful and it seems to be handmade, which always tugs at my heart strings. Anytime I see a vintage anything with the telltale handmade signs (no label, messy seams, hems done by hand) I kind of have to have it. I imagine the person who created the piece decades before me cherishing it in their wardrobe and I feel a duty to save it from those who won’t appreciate it like I do. Whether I wear it as is or reconstruct it into a new piece, I always try to use every last bit of the garment so nothing goes to waste. 
This skirt ended up making a new shorter skirt, a scarf and a bracelet with nothing left behind except the original waistband for which I am actively brainstorming a new use. 
The original:
New skirt:
Slouchy scarf:

Bracelet:
The bracelet is made from several strands of the fabric which have been either pulled to curl edges or braided, and finished with black elastic. I love these new pieces and the super vintage vibes of this fabric. I hope the original seamstress, wherever she is, would be proud!
All I have left is this original waistband - what should I make from it? My ideas so far include a belt with some kind of DIY buckle/closure, a headband or perhaps some vertical banding on a shirt. What would you do with the waistband?

xoxo,
Michelle

Sunday, September 25, 2011

ROUNDUP: Weekly Links 9/25/11

Here's what I'm rounding up this week:
Banned Books Week 2011
Yesterday was the first day of Banned Books Week 2011. This annual celebration focuses on the freedom to read, but I was blown away to learn just how many books - both new and old - are still challenged and banned in schools and libraries around the country today. There are well known bandits like Huckleberry Finn, but many other titles are also on the chopping block. Having never experienced book censorship growing up (with the exception of my 7th grade reading teacher going through every single copy of Summer of My German Soldier to black out each swear word) I didn't realize this was still going on. Books are challenged or banned for reasons such as having a "homosexual agenda" or being too dark, too sexual, too depressing or too anything that someone with a loud enough mouth seems to oppose. Someone even tried to ban THE DICTIONARY! Seriously. The reason was so rational, though; their child happened to find the phrase "oral sex" in there, so I can see the reason for hysteria. Totally rational. While you're there you might want to look under "I" for INSANE. Read the story behind book challenges and bannings title by title here.


Sister Wives is Back!
Holy polygamy, you guys! Tonight is the premiere of the third season of Sister Wives and you best not miss out. Even if you're totally over the constant parade of family freak shows brought to you by TLC, this is the one to see. Centering on the Browns, a polygamist family with four sister wives and their shared husband Kody (his ridiculous hair is reason enough to tune in) this show aims to demonstrate the ins-and-outs of daily life for a less than typical family and show us how "normal" the concept of polygamy actually is. Yeah, yeah, whatever - I just wanna see the weird family dynamics, the Mormon-ness, Kody's ridiculously tiny sports car (smart ride for a father with almost 20 kids) and the perpetually bald newborn Truly Mae Brown (that name!!!). There are even "better" names to be found here...just watch it!


Worst Costume Idea Ever?
Usually I assume that any product that ends up for sale in the world has gone through some semblance of a decision process where at least a handful of people have said yay or nay or offered educated input based on research and projections. Guess not. This Halloween you can wear potentially the worst costume of all time: Anna Rexia. Dress as everyone's favorite eating disorder while also showing off your sexy side! It even comes with a measuring tape waist band to accentuate those adorable ribs of yours! The protruding pelvic bones are even dusted with glitter, so you can be sure you'll be the cutest mental disorder at the party.


World Map Necklace
This necklace from Melody Ehsani is the cutest thing in the world! All puns aside, this rockin' neck piece is so cool I almost can't stand it. I've been eyeing it for a while, but at $100 I've been a little gun shy on actually purchasing. I'm cheap, whatever. It comes either silver or multi-colored and I can imagine wearing this with practically everything. I love statement necklaces and this certainly makes one. Bonus points for the model's amazing freckles!


World's Biggest Dog Ears
New world record! The world's largest dog ears belong to Harbor the Coonhound and as you can see above they are spectacular. His left ear measures 12.25" and his right is 13.5" (it's okay, Harbor - it happens to the best of us) which reportedly caused him to frequently trip over them and fall down the stairs as a puppy. He even gets approached by strangers on the street asking for a touch of the ol' ears, but it seems as though he doesn't mind too much. Hey Harbor - room for one more?


xoxo,
Michelle

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

BEAUTY: What's In My Makeup Bag

I've always had a bit of an obsession with makeup. Knowing I'll be trying a new mascara keeps me from hitting the snooze on my alarm, committing to an eyeshadow as my signature shade feels practically like a walk down the aisle and the never ending quest for the perfect shade of lipstick keeps me on my toes. I rarely find it a chore to apply (save for the occasional yoga pants-filled Sunday). While I have other stashes of occasionally worn products and a few eyeshadow palettes (including my Urban Decay Book of Shadows - thanks to my sister for "persuading" me to buy this!) here is a look at the products I keep in full reach everyday:
Face products (clockwise from top left):
CoverGirl Fresh Complexion concealer in Creamy Natural
ELF tinted moisturizer in Nude
NYC bronzer in Sunny
CoverGIrl loose powder in Translucent Light


I recently saw the light when it comes to tinted moisturizer. You guys, it's awesome! Duh. I know I'm like a lifetime late to this party, but it's moisturizing, it has SPF 15, it's light and it has a super sheer but somehow still covering and smoothing color. I tried the ELF one on a whim because it's just $3 (!) and I have definitely gotten my money's worth. I'm a convert, it's official. I always apply with a triangle sponge and I usually top it off with a sheer loose powder and a brush of bronzer across the apples of my cheeks and lightly along my jawline for definition.
Eyeshadows (clockwise from top left):
Revlon eyeshadow quad in Lavender Meadow
Revlon eyeshadow quad in Neutral Khakis
Maybelline eyeshadow quad in Emerald Smokes
CoverGirl eyeshadow quad in Dynamite Drama
Wet n Wild eyeshadow collection in Petal Pusher
Loreal eyeshadow quad in Blues
Loreal eyeshadow quad in Smokey Eyes
Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion
Sephora eyeshadow in Aspin Summit


This might seem like kind of a lot of options for my everyday go-to makeup bag, but I can assure you that it's completely necessary. I kind of mentally set the tone for my day when I pick a look, but *spoiler alert* they all make me happy because I love color. I also occasionally use the UD primer which I find works well, but I don't usually care enough to take the time to use it regularly. Oops. This white shadow is the perfect shade and amount of pearlescent shimmer to brighten your peepers in the inner corner of your eye to hide that extra late night. This Wet n Wild purple palette is surprisingly good! I'd heard that from some reviews so I took the $3.99 gamble at Walgreen's and I kinda love it. The shadows are really smooth - almost creamy while still being power shadow. Ladies, revert back to elementary school and fall back in love with this drugstore staple for the young and cash strapped - you won't regret it!
Other Stuff (clockwise from top left):
Urband Decay 24/7 Glide On eye pencil in Lust, Bourbon & Zero
Revlon ColorStay crayon eyeliner in blackest black
Revlon ColorStay liquid eyeliner in blackest black
Sephora eyeshadow brush
Target crease brush
Wet n Wild kabuki brush
Revlon eyelash curler
ELF brozer brush
ELF eyeshadow brush
Sephora smudge eyeshadow brush
Burt's Bees lip balm
Lancome Juicy Tubes lip gloss in Pink Horizon
ELF all over face brush
Revlon Grow Luscious mascara in blackest black
CoverGirl Lash Blast mascara in very black

I've really come to love my super basic ELF eyeshadow brush ($1) and my Target crease brush ($2). I find that I reach for them more than my pricier Sephora brushes and I use them every day now, which is saying something for a girl who was all about applying makeup with my fingers up until very recently. If I've learned anything about brushes it's that there are really good ones to be found for really cheap if you look in the right places. I truly miss my Shu Uemura eyelash curler, but since they've stopped selling it in Sephora and it's a harder to get (I think you still have to buy it online in the US?) I've been trying to find a suitable comparison. Why did I have to try the holy grail of lash curlers only to have it removed from shelves in my country? I guess it's better to have loved and lost...
When it comes to lips I'm all about basic Burt's Bees lip balm with the occasional red lipstick or pinky gold lip gloss. For mascara I've been a Lash Blast addict for a while now, but I'm trying to branch out. I just bought the Grow Luscious tube and it's fine, but nothing more. 
If I have one iconic makeup element it's probably eyeliner. It's the first thing I ever experimented with and for most of my teen years I wore a lot of it (like, a lot) all around my inner eye at. all. times. I've since eased up on that but I pretty much never go a day without a full fledged liquid eyeliner cat eye. It's just fun. I've tried approximately one bajillion liquid eyeliners, always trying to decide what kind of tip I preferred (stiff or flexible? STIFF OR FLEXIBLE?!) but I was always waffling. I thought I loved the Urban Decay liquid liner, but when I tried the oh-so-simple and unassuming Revlon ColorStay liquid liner I finally found my cat eye soulmate. It's pretty cheap, the tip is short and stiff and the color is saturated (no watery gray-black here). And it stays put all day. For $5 I can't really ask for more. 

That's the detailed look inside my makeup bag and the thought process behind its curation. Thanks for taking the tour! 

I'm still in the market for the BEST in the following:
Eyelash curler (there has to be a good one out there, right?)
Classic red lip stain
Awesome mascaras

Any suggestions?

xoxo,
Michelle

Sunday, September 18, 2011

ROUNDUP: Weekly Links 9/18/11

Here's what I'm rounding up this week:
Forever Lazy
I witnessed something this week. Something scary. Something which confirmed to me that our society is going downhill at a much faster rate than I'd originally anticipated. I almost shudder to speak It's name...Forever Lazy. Have you seen this?! Obviously a spin-off of the reigning As-Seen-On-TV lineup champ Snuggie, this full body warming device offers the added features of a drawstring hood, footies and, of course, the one feature the Snuggie really left us wanting: a mutha-f'ing BUTT FLAP so you can even take care of business without having to remove your beloved Forever Lazy. The name really says it all. Side note: for all you Snuggie owners, lovers OR haters: The Snuggie Sutra. Ugh.


Recycled Dishes from Zak Designs
I've been eyeing these dishes from Zak Designs for some time now and I'm just looking for an excuse to replace every bowl, plate and cup in my kitchen. These bright and beautiful wares are made from recycled plastic, which is what gives them their adorable speckled look. In addition to your typical dinner ware, they've also got sets of mixing bowls, serving trays, salt & pepper sets, napkin holders and more. Time for a kitchen re-do.



Everything Fred Flare sells is fun. They can't just have a beige, computer-nerd-looking USB hub, noooooo - it has to be shaped like a bed of tulips. They can't just sell chapstick - it has to be french fry flavored. The toothpaste? Bacon flavored. The entire site oozes flair (or Flare, in this case). Not that I'm complaining - have you seen their newly released items? Including the aforementioned Tulip USB Hub, they've also got a Mini Cupcake Maker, a miniature Top Hat Headband, Peanuts Orange Hot Chocolate and a Toast Shaped Egg Mold. How awesome would it be to have your eggs fit nicely into your bread? The answer is very.

This is hands down the best (and only acceptable) way to wrap an animal around your neck. Brought to you by Beesknees Knitting (love that name!) you can get patterns for these amazing animal themed scarves as well as the finished products themselves. With the fox, seal, dog, raccoon, lion and more, you can cozy up to your favorite animal in a cruelty-free and fashionable way. This is on my autumn wish list for sure!  

Bent Objects is a blog chronicling both adorable and humorous scenes starring inanimate objects in deliberate poses, helped along in the limb department by copious amounts of bent wire. Check out the peanut butter down on one knee for his true love, Jelly. Zombie potatoes, suicidal muffins, flying coffee beans, pierced swiss cheese and more...did I mention the zombie potatoes? If you love tiny things, food made to look like people and/or the secret side of inanimate objects then: A. you're my soul sista and B. this blog is for you.

xoxo,
Michelle

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

ETC: Back to School Wishlist

I know, I know - I'm not exactly heading back to school this fall. That being said, it does nothing to stop me from fantasizing about notebooks, Crayola EVERYTHING and various cup-like things to stick my pens and pencils in. I have always been a sucker for anything Back-to-School themed and every fall like clockwork I enter the hallowed halls of the school supply section at Target whether or not I'm actually in the market. This year I was good and only bought Crayola crayons and markers (about 50 cents each!) and an iCarly notebook for myself and an X-Men notebook for my boyfriend. In my fantasy world this would be on my shopping list:
Back to School





xoxo,
Michelle

Monday, September 12, 2011

COOKING: Homemade Veggie Sushi

I adore veggie sushi and it's one of my top five most crave-able foods, so when I need a fix, I need a fix. I don't always feel like dropping a chunk of change for this somewhat pricey palate pleaser, so I usually whip up a few rolls at home. It's a lot easier than you might think and once you get the hang of it, you'll find yourself coming up with all kinds of creative fillings. Here's a quick rundown of how I make veggie sushi at home:
Ingredients
Short grain sushi rice (I used Sushi Chef brand)
Nori (I used Sushi Chef brand)
Seasoned Rice Vinegar
Fillings (I used an avocado, sweet potato and mango (not pictured)
Wasabi or wasabi paste made to package directions (optional)
Soy sauce (optional)
Pickled ginger (optional)
note: these ingredients are available in the Asian foods aisle at most regular grocery stores.

Supplies
Large cutting board
Sharp kitchen knife
Bamboo sushi rolling mat (I picked this up for around $2 at a kitchen supply store)
Plastic wrap

STEP 1: Prepare
Prepare sushi rice according to package directions. For 5 rolls (a whole package of nori sheets) I use about 2 cups of rice and 2 cups of water. When cooked, add 1 TBSP or so of seasoned rice vinegar into the rice and mix. Peel, chop and prep any veggies you are using for filling. I chopped the avocado and mango into about 1" pieces. I then chopped the sweet potato into about 1/2" pieces and fried it lightly in veggie oil for about 5 minutes, until soft on the inside and crispy on the outside.
STEP 2: Assemble the Rolls

Lay one nori sheet (shiny side down - yes, both sides are shiny, but one is shinier) lengthwise on top of the bamboo rolling mat. I lay a piece of plastic wrap on top of the mat before placing the nori because it makes for easier cleanup. Place the sushi rice on the nori sheet , covering it about 75% of the way with a thin coating of rice. Leave the rest of the sheet empty at the end furthest from you, as this part will be used to "seal" the roll when you're done. At the end closest to you, add your veggies in a line across your nori, right on top of the rice. If you have more than one veggie add it in another row above the first veggie.
STEP 3: Roll, Roll, Roll
You're ready to get rollin'! Pick up the end of the bamboo mat closest to you and curl it over with the nori, rice and fillings inside of it. Continue to roll the nori inside the mat, being careful not to actually get the mat incorporated into your sushi roll. The mat is more of a guide used to gradually roll the nori until only the empty portion of nori remains. Press this empty portion into the rest of the roll and it should stick to itself. I like to then place the mat over the top and sides of the roll and give it a gentle squeeze to sort of seal it all in. When you're done with all five rolls you should have something like this:
STEP 4: Slice 'Em Up
Are you still with me? Good! Now all you need to do is cut those rolls up. Place one roll on a cutting board and get your knife (super sharp is best) a little wet with a water soaked paper towel. This helps it cut into the nori more easily. Cut each roll into six even pieces. I usually cut it once in the center and cut each half into three pieces to make it a little easier. The smoother the cut the better, but sometimes a gentle sawing motion is needed. 
STEP 5: Embellish, Eat & Enjoy
Pile up those pieces on a plate and enjoy with soy sauce, wasabi (I made mine from Sushi Chef brand wasabi powder) and/or pickled ginger. Enjoy!


xoxo,
Michelle

Sunday, September 11, 2011

ROUNDUP: Weekly Links 9/11/11

Here's what I'm rounding up this week:
The Coolest Furniture OF ALL TIME
Imagine what you wanted your dream house to look like when you were five years old: bubbles, candy, balloons, toys. Now imagine it can be a reality, but in a super chic grown up way. If you're in the market for new home decor (and you have some serious disposable income to spare) Jellio offers fantasy filled furniture and home accessories for every room. Make believe you're waking up at the Wonka factory every morning by grabbing a gummy bear chandelier or fantasize that you're a permanent houseguest at Peewee's Playhouse with a banana seat chaise. Or just go total sugar addict with the ice cream sandwich bench (above), candy button bench or cupcake table. There's even a yo-yo side table! Time to make those preschool fantasies a reality.


Yarnbombing
This website has me seriously wanting to pick up my knitting needles again (it's been a loooong time). Ordinary things like trees, bus seats and bridge railings turn technicolor with the help of some very happy knitters. It's kind of like grandma's version of graffiti, with colorful yarn encasing various items in public spaces, creating a visual feast for all. It apparently started as a creative way for some crafters to use up supplies and unfinished projects and has become a national underground sensation - there's even an International Yarnbombing Day!


CMYK Themed Wedding via Rock n Roll Bride
Regardless of how uninterested in wedding planning you may be, anyone with a design background has to find some joy in this CMYK themed wedding. CMYK is the standard color model for professional printing and any graphic designer is well versed in this four color wonder (C=Cyan, M=Magenta, Y=Yellow, B=Black). It's also just a rad color palette, as this graphic designer couple found, and everything from the bridesmaids' dresses to the centerpieces to the petticoat is CMYK colored and the overall vibe is so modern and fresh. Wedding or no wedding, your next event just got a whole lot more colorful.


Roseanne Comes to Bust!
All hail Queen Roseanne! Seriously, I have idolized this fierce female since I learned how to forcefully grip the TV remote at age four. I never missed an episode of her iconic show (Oxygen reruns included!) and until recently I was having some subconscious withdrawals - I didn't realize how much I missed Roseanne until I saw she had a new reality show on Lifetime (!) and then this week I saw that she's going to have her own advice column in Bust magazine (!!!). It was a definite A-HA moment; I don't know how this hasn't happened sooner! We won't have to wait much longer because her unique brand of witty and honest advice is coming to Bust in the December/January issue. 


Message-in-a-Cookie Cutters
This is just an all-around good time. Personal messages in cookies? YES PLEASE. I know Williams-Sonoma offers the fine suggestions of "It's a Boy!", "Get Well Soon" and "I Love You" for their homemade sweet treats, but with the option to create your own words and phrases letter by letter, I can't see any reason not to turn the funny factor all the way up. How about "Sorry I Gave You Syphilis", "You Are NOT the Father" or "Pee on Me" cookies? You're only limited by your own imagination, but I guess "Happy Birthday" works too.


xoxo,
Michelle

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

DIY: From Hair Clip to Knuckle Ring

I've had this gaudy hair clip since junior high and, although I never actually wore it and can't even remember where it came from, I've held on to it just knowing that one day it would serve a purpose. During a junk pile clean out inspiration struck - this pink rhinestone encrusted specimen would make an excellent DIY knuckle ring! If you have a spare hair clip around, whip it out and follow this super simple tutorial:


I started with a basic pinchy-prong-ended hair clip. Here's a view of the front and back after I pulled off the long piece which was used to secure the hair. 
Next, use pliers to pry the prongs and clasp base (basically all the metal things that stick up) off of the hair clip. This took a bit of twisting and forcing, but the metal if fairly thin so it should be possible to remove everything entirely. Then sand the areas where you've removed metal pieces so that they'll be smooth and not cut your fingers when wearing the ring. 

Finally, use jewelry glue (I used Aleen's Jewelry & Metal Glue) to adhere two adjustable rings wherever you need them placed, depending on the size of your clip and the width of your hand. I added one ring for my index finger and one for my ring finger, which allows the ring to fit across my entire hand but still allows me to easily move my fingers.
That's it! All that's left is to enjoy your sparkly intimidator...pink rhinestones are intimidating, right?


xoxo,
Michelle

Sunday, September 4, 2011

ROUNDUP: Weekly Links 9/4/11

Here's what I'm roundin' up this week:
Rookie Mag Launches Tomorrow!
Eeek! It's finally here! Rookie Mag, the online magazine site created by noted teen fashion blogger and all around cool chick Tavi Gevinson launches on Labor Day. The site will feature monthly themes beginning with, appropriately enough, Beginnings. This mag is so totally aimed at real teen girls that posts will be updated 3 times a day - after school, dinnertime and just before bed, mirroring the typical online usage of real life teenagers, considering Tavi herself is one. She says of the mag: "Our content respects a kind of intelligence in the readers that right now a lot of writing about teenage girls doesn’t. People think it’s just going to be another site or magazine that talks about how great celebrities are or how awful celebrities are or dieting . . .” she said. “And I’m like, ‘Just you wait and see.’” That we will, Tavi. That we will. 


Every Outfit Cher Horowitz Wears in Clueless in Under 60 Seconds
I don't think there's a girl around who didn't idolize the style of Cher Horowitz in Clueless. If you were around in the 90s (or later - people are still watching this movie, right? Right?) you undoubtedly got a major fashion boner for Cher's motorized closet as well as the magical wears it held. The montages, the makeovers, the many trips to the mall - Cher had plenty of excuses to switch up her duds, and this 60-second clip takes you on a tour through every one of them. From her iconic yellow plaid skirt to her barely there Calvin Klein "dress" to her most responsible white collarless shirt from Fred Segal, it's all there and you simply cannot miss it - as if! 


Kobi Levi Footwear

Umm, why haven't these shoes been brought to my attention before? I found them through a chance sighting on Tumblr and I am oh-so-glad. These designs are insane in the best way possible and, in addition to the Olive Oyl, Duck, Slide and Madonna inspired footwear pictured here they've got such innovative concepts as heels that look like you've stepped in gum, banana peel slippers, hound dog heels, some X-rated numbers and even shoes that look like 2 pairs of shoes - since that doesn't make sense until you see it, make sure to check the collection out for yourself. 


The Muppets Collection from OPI
This holiday season OPI will be gracing us with the Muppet Collection featuring new polishes inspired by and named after our favorite Muppet pals like Kermit, Miss Piggy, Grover, Fozzy and more. Even if you don't care about the Muppets (or the new Jason Segal Muppet movie coming out soon) the colors totally stand on their own. Favorite color? Gone Gonzo. Favorite name? Wocka Wocka. What's yours?


Crayon Art by Christian Faur
Artist Christian Faur brings us incredible portraits and other works made completely from crayons. No, this isn't your typical refrigerator-bound Crayola doodle - it's seriously amazing pieces which look normal from afar but once up close you can see that each is made from a colorful spectrum of sharpened crayons tips. This definitely isn't kids stuff.


xoxo,
Michelle
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