November 27, 2013

BEAUTY: Fall Apple Manicure Tutorial

I love a theme! After my Halloween nail art, I was getting kind of bored with regular nail polish so I wanted to create another seasonal manicure. Instead of traditional Thanksgiving nails (okay, maybe those aren't traditional for most people), I wanted a general autumn situation on my nails. I almost went with leaves, you guys, but since I didn't get to go apple picking this year, I had to go with my favorite fall fruit. Plus, I had this vintage apple fabric for the backdrop so it was kind of inevitable.

Red Nail Polish {NYC 223}
Green Nail Polish {Sally Hansen Going Green}
Lime Green Nail Polish {Sinful Colors Innocent}
Brown Nail Polish {Wet n Wild Wet Cement}
Black Nail Polish {Wet n Wild Ebony Hates Chris}
White Nail Polish {Wet n Wild White 449C}
Pale Nail Polish {NYC Love Letters}
Green Striper Nail Polish {L.A. Colors in Bright Green} - Optional
Top Coat {Seche Vite}  //  Dotting Tool

Start with a base of the pale polish. I'm using one meant for a French manicure. You can also just start with bare nails, but this adds a more polished (PUN ALERT) finish.

Use the small end of a dotting tool (or a nail art brush) to draw a curved line that looks like the top of an apple [a] across the middle of a nail. Fill in the space below the line to create the apple [b].

Repeat on all nails, using different shades.

Use the brown nail polish to add a small stem above each apple shape.

Use the green striper or the green polish on a brush or tool to add a leaf shape next to each stem.

For a fun variation, create a sliced open apple by painting a white shape that mimics the apple shape inside one of your apples. Add two black dots for seeds.

Use the dotting tool or a brush to add a white highlight mark on the right edge of each apple.
Finish with top coat.

I know bananas come in a bunch, but what do apples come in? Whatever that is, you have one now!

Are you into seasonal manicures? What would you choose for fall nail art? What do your nails look like right now?


November 21, 2013

DIY: Envelope Pillow Cover

Have you ever had something you've been meaning to get around to, but just don't for, oh, about five years? I do sometimes. When we got our couch it came with two throw pillows that were not really my style, and also not particularly comfortable for those of us who end up accidentally falling asleep on the couch on a semi-regular basis (such as me). I've been meaning to make cuter and more comfortable covers for these pillows for years and kept putting it off because it always took the back seat to more fun and creative crafting projects. After days of deep cleaning, it was finally time to cover these bad boys up.

Fabric  //  Measuring Tape  //  Scissors  //  Pins  //  Needle & Thread {or Sewing Machine}

Measure the pillow you're covering. Mine was 18" square so I'll use those dimensions for this tutorial.
This clearly needed to be covered long ago.
Next, measure and cut the front panel of your pillow cover. It should be the size of your pillow plus 1 inch extra in height and width for seam allowance. If your pillow is especially thick add a little extra seam allowance to account for that. Mine is 19" in both height and width.
I'm making two pillow covers so I cut two front panels.
You need two panels for the back. Both will be 19" wide (same as the front panel) and one will be 9.5" high (half the height of the front panel) while the other is 14.5" high (half the height of the front panel, plus 5 inches). Those extra 5 inches will overlap the smaller back panel to create the envelope opening.

For each pillow cover, you'll need three pieces:
Take the taller back panel (back panel #2) piece and fold over one edge for the hem. Pin in place.
Again, two panels because I'm making two pillow covers.
Sew the hem that you just pinned.
To finish, you need to sew all three pieces together. Place the front panel right side up. Next, lay back panel #2 (hemmed) right side down over the front panel (so the "good" sides touch), lining up the top edges. Finally, place back panel #1 (not hemmed) over the other panels, also right side down, lining up the bottom edges. Pin around all edges and sew.
To finish, flip the pillow cover right side out through the envelope slit in the back and stuff your pillow inside.

Back view with envelope opening

Do you like transforming your home decor? Do you ever put off projects for years at a time?


November 15, 2013

Banana Bread Recipe

I'm a little bit allergic to bananas, but I love them so much I still eat them all the time. I say "a little bit" because it hurts every time I eat them, but I've been doing it my whole life and I'm still here, so I can't be that allergic, right? Not many people agree with me on that point, but I just can't resist the allure of this bright yellow dynamo. Thankfully, cooked bananas don't bother me at all, so I can indulge in banana bread pain-free. What a life!

I mean, I love trying new recipes and concocting food combos I've never tasted before, but sometimes you just need something classic. I think everyone should have a go-to banana bread recipe in their back pocket (along with chocolate chip cookies, duh) that you can throw together when the craving strikes. Here's a classic one that lives in my brain (and probably all over the internet) that you can use too:


3 Very Ripe Bananas  //  2 Eggs  //  1 Stick of Butter  //  1 C Sugar  //  2 C Flour  //  1 TBS Milk
1 tsp Salt  //  1 tsp Baking Soda  //  1 tsp Baking Powder  //  1 tsp Cinnamon


Add the butter and sugar to a large mixing bowl. Cream together until mixed and fluffy.

Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each.

In a separate bowl, mash the bananas and then add the milk and cinnamon.

In yet another bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder.

Add the banana/milk/cinnamon mixture to the sugar/butter/eggs mixture and stir to combine.

Add the mixed dry ingredients to the bowl and stir again to combine.

Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan and bake for 1 hour - 1 hour and 15 minutes at 325 degrees (F). You'll know the banana bread is done when a knife that's inserted into the center comes out clean.

My bakeware is well loved (and therefore looks kind of gross).

Here's what you'll get for all your hard work:

Pretty good reward right?

You can get all crazy with this and add chocolate chips or serve it with a cream cheese icing, but there is something to be said about a simple, classic dessert...and that 'something' is "OH MY GOD, IT'S SO GOOD," which is how banana bread should make you feel.

What's your favorite dessert recipe? Are you allergic to anything that you love? 


November 7, 2013

BEAUTY: 30 Day Lip Color Challenge

Last month I decided to embark on a 30 Day Lip Color Challenge. Well, okay, embark is kind of a strong word for what ultimately boils down to wearing a new lip color every day for a month. Because I found myself often reaching for the same few lipsticks, yet still mentally (and actually) shopping for more, despite my overflowing stash, I wanted to try this experiment. 

The rules were simple:
  1. I must wear a new lip color from my stash every day for 30 straight days
  2. I can't buy any new lip colors along the way
My reasons for trying this were also simple:
  1. I have way too many lipsticks, glosses, stains, etc. and I don't wear most of them
  2. I want to discover new favorites within my lipstick stash
  3. I want to try new looks inspired by new shades of lip color
  4. I want to see what colors I like best (and worst) on me and organize my lipsticks accordingly
  5. I want to stop buying new things when I have 30+ lipsticks (I mean, really!)
The Results:

What I Learned
The most noticeable lesson for me is that it's really annoying to take a picture of yourself every day. How are all you selfie addicts managing to do this? I just didn't always feel like posing, putting on makeup or, in some cases, putting on clothes. It got a little tired around day nine, but I pressed on in the name of science.
Swatches: Top row is lip colors #1 - #15 and bottom row is #16 - #30
More importantly (well, relatively anyway), I learned that: 
  • Safe/subtle shades just aren't going to get much play from me so I might as well toss them.
  • NO FROSTY LIP GLOSS EVER. To be fair, mine was super old, but more reason to let it go.
  • The subtle differences between red lipsticks mean it's totally okay to have a lot of them.
  • Covergirl All-Day Lip Color (#25) is REALLY good, which I totally forgot. I can wear this all day for a reliable matte red lip and it even lasts through pizza and a Halloween party - what more are you really looking for?
  • Wet n Wild's Megalast lipsticks are out of this world and only, like, $2. Highly recommended, especially Cherry Bomb (#10) and Purty Persimmon (#3).
  • I like dark lip colors on me more than I thought I did. Not longer just for special occasions.
  • I probably don't ever need to wear Revlon's Va Va Violet (#14) or Wet n Wild's Click My Hyper-Pink (#21) ever again. I'll save them for when I want to look like a weirdo.
  • No more glosses that aren't opaque - don't waste my time.
  • Matte lips > glossy lips.
  • I need more purple lipstick!
Top picture is lip colors #1 - #15 and bottom picture is lip colors #16 - #30
The goal was to keep me from buying lipstick by "shopping" my own stash and making me realize how many I already have, but in reality this experiment just made me focus so much more on my lips that now all I can think of is trying new colors. Oops. I will definitely be using more of my own first, though!
After scrubbing the swatches, ALL of the Wet n Wild Megalast Liquid lip Colors stayed put! I know I've mentioned it before, but those things are pretty amazing.

Would you try a 30 Day Lip Color Challenge? If you do, let me know so I can follow along!
How many lipsticks is too many? How long would it take you to wear all the shades from your stash? What's you favorite lip color right now?


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