November 1, 2015

DIY: Gumball Machine Costume

Oh, hello.

You didn't think I was going to let Halloween pass without an update did you? Of course not.

I'll just say it: it's unreasonable that we only have one day a year to wear costumes. I fantasize about a Second Halloween - we'll give it a catchier name, probably - in late April, about six months after the big day, so everyone gets another chance to dress up and fit in those costume ideas they never got around to. Plus, topical costume options will be doubled! When something great happens pop-culturally in the winter, it's way too late to costume-ize it at Halloween. With Second Halloween, this MAJOR problem is solved.

My brain is basically a snow globe of raining costume ideas all year long. I make mental notes and ponder construction options pretty much weekly. I just love costumes! I generate a lot of ideas; some I try to force on others, and some I'm storing away for future Halloweens when I have it in me to wear another costume that I can't sit down in. This year, though, I actually pulled inspiration from my own past brain! When I made this post about DIY Halloween costume ideas, I included a gumball machine option, and this year it struck me as a fun thing to try. Thanks, 2014 brain!

Here's how I made it:

The Gumballs
There are a lot of ways to go about this portion of the costume - last year I suggested a glass bowl full of pom poms, but I was committed to using real gumballs so I bought enough bags of those at Target to arouse suspicion at checkout. 

I then cut a 15" circle from cardboard, covered it in white felt, glued approximately one million (ok, like 300) gumballs to it, and used black felt as a trim to give a finished look. 

I added that cartoon-style "shiny" detail at the top to imply that the circle was glass. Just like when I was drawing a balloon as a child, it just seemed like the right thing to do. 

Finally, I attached some black straps to tie around my neck. Side note: that kind of hurt so BEWARE.

The Hat
The base of this hat is a paper bowl. Yup, that simple. I snipped off the lip of the bowl to give it a straighter side.

Next, I cut a circle out of red fabric, wrapped it around the bowl and glued it on the inside. I suggest glueing in small sections to keep the edges as neat as possible. I have some folds, but I made peace with it after some soul searching.

The top piece is the bottom of a small plastic cup covered in gray felt. If you're keeping track, that means this hat is about 95% disposable dish ware.

Finish by gluing some elastic string to keep it on your head.

The Machine
For rational people, step one should be: Buy a red skirt. Since I always have to be a hero, I made this one myself after deeming all store-bought options "too red," "not red enough," or "lacking the spirit of a gumball machine." Don't be a hero.

I used gray, white and black felt to make a metal-looking piece for the coin slot and spinny dial. I attached this to the skirt with tape, since I wanted to wear the skirt again.

I put a "hole" at the bottom when the gumballs would come out, and glued a gumball there, as well.

Finish with some silver trim courtesy of duct tape if you wish.

The Finished Costume

Classes are starting now at my distinguished photo posing academy! You'll be a pro after covering such topics as "Why are these hands on my face?" and "Hey, what's over there?"

So now I have to know - what were you for Halloween? If you didn't dress up, what do you wish you could've been? Because sometimes imagining costumes is just easier, right?

July 24, 2015

BEAUTY: 10 Purple Lipsticks Under $10

You know what's the best? Fun lipstick. Even better? Fun cheap lipstick. I mean, I love those over the top, gilded designer tubes that are really more decor than makeup just as much as the next lipstick wearer, but I tend to just admire those from afar...really afar. Like, pinteresting-lipstick-pics-from-the-comfort-of-my-own-couch afar. If you choose to drop $50 on a lipstick, that's amazing for you! (I mean it! You probably have the best throw blankets ever and smell like some kind of exotic vanilla at all times. Let's hang.) 

I mostly do the drugstore thing when it comes to makeup, and while it can be hard to find "fun" colors there, purple lipstick has become so insanely popular that there are a bunch of budget options to choose from. Purple: the color of royalty, bruises, and my mother's birthstone. Plus, it looks rad on your face! Yes, you! Literally everyone can wear some shade of purple on their lips because purple lipstick is magic. You should definitely fall under its spell.

Left to Right:

Maybelline Color Sensational Lipstick in Brazen Berry
The PERFECT cool toned, medium purple, which I'm convinced looks amazing on everyone.

Milani Color Statement Lipstick in Sangria
A deep wine shade that manages to be creamy and NOT patchy - a feat for these kinds of colors!

Rimmel Moisture Renew Lipstick in Vintage Pink
Don't let the name fool you - this is a pale purple-pink, which makes a great "nude" for those of us with cool toned lips.

Blackheart Beauty Lipstick in Violet
A beautiful basic purple shade that compliments many skin tones.

Wet n Wild MegaLast Lip Color in Sugar Plum Fairy
Dark and vampy, this plum shade goes on matte and stays put, and is a near dupe for MAC Rebel!

Left to Right:

Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm in Shameless
Gives the moisturizing (and minty!) benefits of a balm, and the deep, true purple can't be rivaled.

Rimmel Provocalips in Kiss Fatal
I've already professed my unwavering love for Provocalips and this shade is one of my favorites! Deep, almost berry purple with ALL day wear.

Wet n Wild Fergie Creme Lipstick in D-Vinely Chilled
When you want some sheen and shimmer grab this unique vino-inspired shade.

Jordana Modern Matte Lipstick in Matte It Girl
Matte, smooth and a perfect magenta-toned purple. Much more vibrant in person!

Revlon Super Lustrous Lip Color in Va Va Violet
For the violet devotees only; super deep, somewhat fussy, but totally royal.

Rimmel Vintage Pink, Blackheart Beauty Violet, Jordana Matte It Girl, Maybelline Brazen Berry, Wet n Wild Sugar Plum Fairy, Revlon Shameless, Rimmel Kiss Fatal, Wet n Wild D-Vinely Chilled, Milani Sangria, Revlon Va Va Violet

Sometimes I prefer lip swatches so here you go, but OH MAN is it weird to look at so many closeups of your own lips! I do it for you, America:

Left to Right, Top to Bottom:
Rimmel Vintage Pink, Blackheart Beauty Violet, Jordana Matte It Girl, Maybelline Brazen Berry, Wet n Wild Sugar Plum Fairy, Revlon Shameless, Rimmel Kiss Fatal, Wet n Wild D-Vinely Chilled, Milani Sangria, Revlon Va Va Violet

Do you love purple lipstick? What's your favorite shade, drugstore or not? What other interesting lip color shades are you digging lately?

July 8, 2015

COOKING: Creamy Broccoli Soup Recipe

I own a calendar, so I'm aware that it's summer, and yet I'm still giving you a soup recipe. A hot soup recipe at that! No, I'm not crazy or stuck with a constant chill, I just love this soup and I want you to make it too. Plus, this recipe is simple, and cooks quickly with stuff you can grab for cheap and you don't have to turn on your oven. You could even pick up the ingredients at your farmer's market if you want this to feel more true to the season. Or not, whatever. Just make this soup!


» 1.5 lbs Broccoli, chopped small «
» 5 Carrots, peeled & chopped «
» 1 Onion, chopped «
» 3 Tablespoons Flour «
» 4 Cups Broth of Your Choice «
» Splash of Half & Half «
» Dollop of Butter «
» Dash of Salt & Pepper «


Start by prepping all of your veggies. I change the amounts up depending on what I have on hand, so you can always use more broccoli and less carrots or the opposite, if that's more appealing to your budz. (cool new slang for taste buds, it started here!)

Toss the butter into a large pot on medium-high heat. Once it melts, drop in the broccoli, carrots and onion. Sprinkle with a generous amount of salt and fresh cracked pepper. You could also toss in some garlic. Go for it! Have you ever had a soup that doesn't taste better with garlic? I know you haven't because that is not possible. Stir it and cook until veggies soften, about 5 minutes.

Okay, when your veggies are gettin' soggy, sprinkle the flour over them and mix it in, cooking for about a minute. This just makes the soup a little thicker, so you can skip it if you aren't interested.

Add your broth and bring the whole thing to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer, covered or uncovered, for about 15 minutes, or longer if you have the time and want to let the flavors get to know each other (wink, wink).

When you are SO over all that simmering, turn off the heat and pour in a large splash of half & half. You could also use soy cream or milk substitute (just make sure it's unsweetened). Whatever works.

Stir it all together and that small amount of half & half will make the soup much richer and creamier. You don't have to add it, but it makes a difference. You know how creamy soups are delicious, but very heavy, and then you feel all full after? This doesn't do that.

You could also use an immersion blender to puree the soup, if your budz (don't let it die before it lives!) prefer smoother soups, but I like it all textured and rustic. I kinda feel like pureeing perfectly fine soups is only a thing so that people with too many kitchen gadgets can justify owning an immersion blender. *end political soup rant*

Hope I didn't alienate you there.

Are you down to eat hot soup in summer? What are your easiest homemade dinners? Any members of Team Immersion Blender out there?

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?

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?

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?

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?

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