Thursday, March 22, 2012

In My Makeup Bag: Top Ten

Confession: I love makeup! I love when I have time to get all gussied up and I also love doing other's makeup (its like painting!). I have sort of an obession with trying new products and get really excited about doing makeup - even though a majority of the time I don't really spend a lot of time doing makeup. A lot of days I just slap on lipgloss or some blush and then get ready to hear "you look tired today" a lot. ha ha (There are those days when I would rather have my sleep then spend the extra 15-20 minutes doing makeup). 
As I've gotten older, I've started splurging a little more on higher end makeup and I've noticed a difference. The staying power, color richness and textures are all a little better than the drugstore stuff.
Here are my top ten products I'm pretty obsessed with now:
In My Makeup Bag: Top Ten

1. Sheer City Block Bronze - Clinque ($20)

I love this product - its like a tinted moisturizer but with more bronze in it and its a really nice goldeny bronze. I feel less Seattle ghostly when I wear it. It goes on fairly sheer and it has SPF protection. But I've just discovered they've discontinuted it, and I'm almost out - eek! I know they make it without the bronze, so maybe I'll to try the regular one.

2. Moon Beam - Benefit ($26)
I got a little version of this in a sephora "glitz and glam" pack and I LOVE it. It's like a pearly iridescent highlighter. It comes with a little brush (like nailpolish) and its really easy to put on. I do a few dots along my cheekbones, a dot in the corner of my eyes, and at the arch of my eyebrows and blend in with my finger. It just brightens your face amazingly. I like it because it's very sheer and doesn't feel heavy on your face. (Benefit also makes a bronzey one that I think will be perfect for summer)

3. Illuminating Super Orgasm - Nars ($30)  
This stuff is worth every penny! I love the powder blush version of this too, but for more of a dewy look, this is my go to stuff. It gives your face a really nice pinky-peachy natural flush (much like the name would suggest, ha ha) but it also has a hint of shimmer in it. The color looks really strong but it's not so bright. I like that you can wear a little and have it be more natural, or if I'm going for the whole shebang with foundation, concealer, etc I can put it on a little heavier. I just use my finger tips.

4. Mineral Veil - Bare Esentuals ($20)

I don't wear a lot of powder usually, because my face is fairly dry and I think too much powder just makes it really obvious when you're wearing makeup. However, I really like this product because its so light and it doesn't settle heavily on your face. Very nice natural looking coverage. 

5. Sparklicity Pure - Tarina Tarantino

This is awesome shimmer dust. Its light and shimmery, not total sparkles, and is a great all purpose shimmer - for on your face, or all over your skin. It can go on really light, or really heavy depending upon how you use it.  (I also love the Too Faced Glamour Dust as well. Another excellent shimmer dust)

6. Naked eyeshadow - Urban Decay ($50)

I caved and spent a ridiculous amount of money on this eyeshadow palette - and man do I love it! I love it so much I want to buy another just in case they discontinue it. The shadows are buttery and velvety, not all loose and powdery. Some of them have a little more glitter in them, and others are great neutral smoky tones. I really like that when I apply this eyeshadow it doesn't float and fly all over landing on my cheeks and undereyes. Sometimes I just use my finger and get a dab of the lighter colors on my lids, other times I use an angled brush and do more of a smokey look - its so much fun with all the different colors. There's not a bad one in this palette. I also love that the color says put and the colors lasts for quite awhile even without eyeshadow primer.

7. Larger than Life Longwear eyeliner - Nars ($23)

This eyeliner rocks! I did a hand swatch of several different eyeliners one day and this one held on the longest, and also went on the silkiest, and had the best black (some of them were more blue black). I LOVE it. When I put it on it doesn't end up caking in the corners of my eyes, or end up disappearing as the day goes on. (I also like Nars' smudgeproof base/primer). And this eyeliner rocks because its not gloopy or hard to control so you can still do fine lines.

8. Buxom lip gloss - Bare escentuals/sephora 
This is a great lip gloss. It has peppermint oil that makes your lingles tingle and feel all minty, but it also feels very hydrating and not sticky. I love all the variety of colors and tints and I'm pleased with how long it lasts.

9. Smashbox eyeshadow
The 3 color palette pictured above in the big pictured has been discontinued I believe (Smashing palette - "Flash") but that peachy color is my all time favorite color. I love smashbox eyeshadows, they are so velvety and they last a really long time. Not powdery or drying at all.

10. Define-a-lash - Mabelline
I haven't found one product that I'm really loyal too - I tend to jump around when it comes to mascara - but I am pretty darn happy this one. Its not clumpy or thick, it has a really liquidy feel and the silicone brush makes it really easy to use. It doesn't flake off as the day goes by, and doesn't leave black tinges on my eyelids either.

What products are your must haves?

<I have not been paid or given freebies to endorse any of these products. This is just my opinion and enthusiasm for makeup.> 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Pen Drawing: "An Apple For A Unicorn"

I love drawing with superfine pens! These are my favorite - I love the 02 and 03 sizes.

There's something really fun and immediately satisfying compared to pencil. And I find I get less fussy and OCD about mistakes I make as I go. (Which is odd because its a lot harder to correct mistakes in pen.) Maybe because it feels more like doodling and "I'm doing it for fun"? I can ignore the mean perfectionist critic in my head and just enjoy putting pen to paper and seeing where it goes.

Like with this drawing:

I started doodling a unicorn head one night, getting crazy with the mane like I usually do (I love long flowing horse manes - in real life and in art) and then it just launched into a whole scene from there. (Almost 30 and I still like drawing unicorns and girls in pretty dresses. Nerd alert.)

And even though there are a lot of messy mistakes and overlaps and things I could have drawn a lot better (the unicorn horn, her eye) and things I really dislike (the belt! Ug!) I enjoyed drawing this - which is what art is all about, right? :)

My favorite part of drawing this was the shoes and books. I'm itching to color them in.
(The stockings next to them didn't turn out so hot. Ignore those. ha ha)
I also like the unicorn head and the little braids. (Don't ya know unicorns usually have braids from fairies? ;) )

I'm really tempted to color it all in with some watercolor because it would be so fun! Plus its really busy and nothing really stands out. It would be cool to make some parts of it pop - like the apple, or her dress.

I'll post if I decide to color it in. Its been a long time since I had some fun with a coloring book.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Photos on Canvas Project

Our entry wall has been really ignored and pretty darn lame for quite awhile. For longer than I'd like to admit, it looked like this:

our kittens Bella & Thomas, from 2008
(The adorable kittens are wonderful, its what's on the wall behind them. Yes, ladies and gentlemen that is a framed poster of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Are you cringing with me yet? My husband insisted and argued and fought for it. For days. Weeks. Seriously. Finally I gave in. Can't win them all. And I knew once we were able to afford to repaint the room he would realize it didn't quite fit in the room, or anywhere, besides a college dorm room. Sure enough when we finally painted the room, "Arnie" came down. We are saving it for the future home gym. :))

And then for a long long time the wall was just blank.

We didn't have the money to do buy a huge art print and get it framed,  I didn't want to do a lot of black frames because the rest of the room is so light and netural, none of my paintings worked in that room, yada I just left it blank until we could afford to do something fabulous.

Then lo and behold, I found the fabulous something that wouldn't break the bank, when I saw this post on Young House Love!

It's fairly affordable, it looks good and I LOVE horse art. And since I have a ton of photos of my horse (but none hanging in our house) it was the perfect solution!

I found a few photos that I had made sepia and jazzed up a bit earlier in the year, because they were so boring in color. And I thought that they would look nice on the wall since our room is all warm earth tones.

My beautiful horse, in a not so beautiful photo

At least I remembered to photoshop the fly off her face here. ha ha.

Another kinda boring photo that looks more interesting in sepia in my opinion.

Crap, forgot to photoshop out the stupid fly.

Since I knew I wanted to do a multi-picture arrangment - and that a wall of ALL horse photos might be a bit overkill - I used a few other favorite photos of ours, like this photo of our cat Bella.

Our sweet cat Bella, who died in 2009. We miss her. 

Look you can see the Arnie poster in the background! ha ha
And I couldn't resist another horse one :)
My favorite photo of Mysti. I actually prefer it in color, so I might use this somewhere else in my house and replace this photo on the wall with something else.

Not too bad all tricked out in soft focus/sepia too
I printed out the enlargements at Costco and took them with me to pick out the right canvas size. 

I didn't take any in-progress photos unfortunately, but they were so easy to do: I just cropped the photos using a scrapbook paper cutter as needed, then painted Mod Podge on the canvas, then slapped the photo on there. I tried not to be a perfectionist about if they weren't on there perfectly straight, and just pushed/pulled the edges until it look about right. Then I dried them face down to prevent any wrinkles or bubbling. After about a half hour, I hung them up and I think they look great!

Ignore the weird light on the wall from the window in our door.
 I took this way late in the afternoon and the light was fading fast, so its not the best clarity.

I can't remember exactly the total cost, but I remember being pleased that it cost less than $50 total.
 - About $16 for the photo enlargements. Five 8x10's, Two 12x18 photos.
 - Around $30 for the canvas (I couldn't find 12x18 canvas so I used 12x16 and then just cropped the photos, which I wasn't too thrilled about but they turned okay) 

Another view:

I love how the edge of the canvas is so clean and bright.

Close up of the photo against the canvas
its glued pretty tightly and hasn't curled up on the edges at all

I'm really thrilled with how quick and easy this turned out. It was a great way to bring something personal and artsy into our house. Slowly but surely we're making our house a "home."

What projects are you working on to make your house a home?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

5 TV Shows I’m Hooked on Right Now

Does anyone else equate Thursday with “TV night”? Apparently the whole “must see TV” branding worked in my little brain because every Thurs I feel like its TV night.  

Maybe because back when I first got into watching TV shows was in college, and Thursday was the big new Friends/Will & Grace/ER/Felicity episode night. I remember (cue nostalgia music) heading back from the library or studio, and my roommate and I would throw on our pjs and we’d get out the sour gummy worms and Dr. Pepper, and watch through all the episodes and no matter what crap I was dealing with that week – tests, hard lab projects, frustrating paintings in the studio, homesickness, boyfriend trouble – well things just got better after a good laugh (or cry) on Thursday night.

So it being Thursday got me to thinking about all the shows I’m into right now (even though oddly most are not on Thursdays night).

I feel like this show isn’t getting enough love for how brilliant it is. It’s one of our favorite dramas on TV right now. It’s dark and sordid, dramatic with a twist of humor and sex appeal, and some good old fashioned vigilante justice. The characters are rich and complex, heck even the bad ones are likeable or interesting, and it isn’t afraid to get dark and show its ugly side. The characters of Raylan Givens and Boyd Crowder (and their background history) are just phenomenal. Doesn’t hurt that Raylan (actor Timothy Olyphant) is a definite hunk. And Boyd (actor Walton Goggins.) has got to be one of the most mesmerizing, bad-arse, interesting characters on TV right now. I could listen to him ominously drawl about anything all day. Justified will put a tingle on the back of your neck, and make you want to wave your cowboy hat and holler for the good guys.

Hellloooooo new favorite comedy show! Happy Endings is quirky and quick witted and so funny. It’s about a bunch of twenty-somethings living in Chicago (how ambiguous of a show does that sound? LOL. But it really is good) and while it’s kinda Friends-esque, it’s a little more racy and oddball, and not trying to be Friend-ish. I adore ALL the characters (not just one or two, like How I Met Your Mother) and find their hijinx hysterical and crazy, but realistically crazy. I’ve laughed so hard I couldn’t breathe (the Halloween episode!) and I find it very entertaining.  

I really like a good zombie apocalypse premise so I liked Walking Dead from the get go. And now I’m oddly hooked to this show even though just about every episode drives me crazy and kinda makes me mad. (Odd that I have it on my top 5 watch list. I guess I enjoy a love/hate relationship now and then). I really don’t understand the majority of the actions these people do in the new world they are living in. Why are they not creating zombie traps? Why are they not out doing scavenger trips to get supplies like ammo? Wth haven’t they found some abandoned farm and rigged it up for survival rather than staying in tents at ol' Hershel’s? Rick has got to be the worst leader of all time, and his wife is an idiot. (Nice parenting by the way. Maybe you should keep an eye on your son.) Of course it doesn’t help that my ex-soldier, survivalist-outdoorsy-outward bound husband is piping up all the time about their incorrect gun handling and stupid mistakes and how it’s totally improbable that they’d still be alive when they’re all such pansies (*not his word, mine). “A cop would know how to handle a gun safely! Look at him! That’s not how a cop would carry a rifle – this is just bad. Who are their advisors?!” and “This is so unrealistic. How have they survived so far! They are so stupid! I’m going to start a website called Kill Dale dot com. He needs to be killed off! This is just getting ridiculous!” Yes, we really hate certain parts of it. BUT having ranted about all that, there are 2 main reasons why I watch the show: Daryl and Shane. Fascinating, complex characters with heart yet the guts (and balls) to do what needs to be done in this zombie-laden world. Love them, want to see more of them and what they’ll do, so I’ll keep watching.

I’ll admit I have a slight weakness for some pretty ridiculous reality shows (Ice Loves Coco, cough cough, anything with the word Kardashian in the title) but Bethenny Ever After is one of my fav reality shows that I’ll announce loud and proud. I feel like its more of a real reality show (you can hear my husband laughing in the background as I write this). And I just find it darn entertaining. She’s hysterical, and yet also kinda inspirational. (Here’s where I throw in my “you go girl!”). I appreciate her OCD and perfectionism and dysfunctionality. She’s ballsy and says it like it is and not afraid to be a fool. I would love to have her over for a dinner party. 

Oh New Girl, I wanted to dislike you and your annoyingly purposefully cute hipsterness. And I’ve resisted the Zooey Deschanel fan train for awhile now…but gosh darn it.…I like you. You make me laugh. You’re zany, and goofy, and beneath all the maniac cuteness you’ve got heart..and believable friendships and you’re not afraid to be girly or have jokes about douchebags putting money in a jar when they’re douchey. My dorky heart loves you.
(Other shows we’re hooked on include Parks and Rec, Downton Abbey, Modern Family, An Idiot Abroad, Sons of Anarchy, True Blood and The League. More to come on those later)
What shows are you hooked on?  

Happy TV Thursday!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Master Bedroom Makeover

A few months ago my mom asked if I would help her redesign her master bedroom. She was sick of how dark and blah the room was, bored with the oak furniture (her whole house is full of oak), and after living in the house for over 18 years she didn't really have any personal details in it.

I told her I would love to help her (nothing's more fun than getting to redecorate when you're not spending your own money! ha ha) but on the condition that the furniture wasn't oak. And that we didn't spend the majority of the time arguing. (Which we didn't, it was really nice!)

To make it more fun, she decided to do this as a surprise for her husband Mark (my stepdad). I LOVE a room makeover surprise!

So we've been shopping on the sly, and squirrelling away purchases at my house, her friend's and in my sister's room for the past weeks. This weekend when he left for a business trip, we sprung into action and the room is now officially made over! (He arrives home tonight for quite the surprise! hee hee hee!)

She wanted a room that was elegant, serene, glamorous and bright. We decided quickly on black furniture with white bedding to keep it feeling light. And then for an accent color we went with purple - my mom's always loved purple and we felt that if we did deep purple tones it would look elegant. We went with gray paint for the walls. And then we "styled" it with lots mirrors, glass and silver in the room to bring more light and a hint of glam. It was so much fun!

Seems like I spent the majority of the time shopping waving my hands dramatically going "no no no, think GLAAAM!" or "we need shiiiiiiine! we need luuuuuuuxury". Apparently when I decorate I turn into Franck Eggelhoffer from "Father of the Bride". ha ha

But I think it turned out great! I love how it feels really elegant, yet also very cozy and peaceful too! My mom is thrilled with it too.

The reveal:

Before. Dark, mismatched, boring, blech.

And after.....

After! It looks rather lavender in this photo - its not that purple in real life. 

Another view:


I love love the bedding. The white coverlet has a slight sheen, and the purpley throw is like a faux mink.

Before - view of the door side:

After, same view:

The How:
We started on Saturday afternoon with the painting. I dragged my hubby, Kevin, along to move all the heavy pieces and help with the painting.

Don't you love the "judicially challenged" shirt my uncle (a judge) gave him? ha ha

After seeing what bad shape her outlets were in, he ended up switching them out for new ones. (Which we grabbed when we went to pick up the paint samples). Awww, its so nice having him around to do all the grunt work.
While he did that we tried to decide which paint to go with. We had grabbed a few paint chips a few days ago but hadn't been able to look at them in the room since we were waiting for my stepdad to leave town.  This is my official "put some of the bedding and decor next to the paint chip" method to help decide. It really does work! ha ha(Ignore the oak furniture in the other room - that's her attached office/den space that we didn't touch for this project. I'm hoping it will be my next makeover project.)
We narrowed it down to 2 paint chips (our top choice was too colorless so we went with our 2nd and 3rd choices when we were at Lowe's grabbing paint chips). I really liked the charcoal heather color and wanted to get it, but mom felt more comfortable doing some actual paint sample/swatches.
So quick run to Home Depot to pick up paint samples, frog tape, and new outlet thingys. Came back and did some quick sample painting.
Both paint colors look pretty colorless in this pic, but looked better in real life
We decided to go with the Charcoal Heather (top swatch). The other color was really pretty, but had more cool, blue undertones and since we had a warmer purple we needed a warmer gray. Plus her trim/baseboard molding isn't a very white white, its more beige - so we needed a color that would still work with that cause there was no changing that. Mom made a run to Home Depot while Kevin taped the bottom trim, and I painted along the top of the ceiling with the leftover sample paint. No taping used. I've got mad skills (for the most part). ;)
Note the giant hole in her sock. She kept thinking she was stepping in paint
but then realized she was feeling the cold plastic on her bare foot. ha ha ha.
Once we got the big can of paint and the rollers out we finished in no time. Wrapped up the second coat and cleaned up by 9:30 pm. Not too bad for starting from picking out a color at 4pm!

The furniture was delivered on Monday, so came back to help setup the room and hang frames. While working in the room we noticed that the overhead light bulbs were so yellow (and not very bright) they were making the paint color really off. Another trip to home depot to get more "bright white/daylight" light bulbs.

Look at the difference in wall color from the lamp wall to the window wall.
The lamp is a daylight lightbulb, whereas the overhead light is a yellow indoor one.

Hanging the mirrors was the biggest pain and I only did like half the work on them. haha. They were super cheap (only $10!) because they didn't have a frame and were one of the areas where we were able to save some money. But that meant using the four little holders to hang them, which took some exact measuring (which I have little patience for).

Kevin leveling the mirror.
We discovered that the curtain rod she had picked out wasn't long enough (grrrrrr!) so she ran to Target while we finished hanging the mirrors. Everything was done by then except for the framed photos. (I really suggested that she paint the ceiling, or maybe extend the wall color up to the part of the ceiling that drops down. The ceiling color is pretty drab - Kevin called it "nicotine beige". ha ha. She is going to most likely paint it down the road)

Room almost done. Just missing framed photos.
Finally, last step. I picked up the photos from Costco (I had scanned in photos she had and made them black and white) popped them in the frames and slapped them up on the walls. And now we are officially done! WOO HOO! (And what a difference having some art on the walls makes!)
Mom in her newly revamped room. The lids on the benches of the bed lift up and they are storage. Curtains are from Ikea ($25 for the pair! sweet!) and I love how they are modern and not fussy or dark.

Some of my favorite parts of the room design:

These mercury glass candle holders are so gorgeous! We got them from ZGallerie for $30. (One of my fav stores!)
Mom wasn't sure about the mercury glass look at first (the inside has a gold tinge to it) but I ooohed and aaaahed enough to convince her (I love the texture of them! And they're shiny! And kinda old fashiony!) and now she loves them too.

I told her she needed some sort of animal statue or a sculpture piece in white or silver. "You neeeed a small staaatemhunt piece" I told her in my designer/Franck voice.
And she found this little guy at Ross for $8. Perfect! Also, love the texture on it. And its big enough where it doesn't look like a cluttery knickknack which I think is best to avoid.

The framed photos turned out good! (Can I tell you how much I love Ikea frames? They are sooo cheap, but in a good way) We did the ones above the bed black and white which I love (so classic and very clean and neat). But then we did a few color ones as well which add a little bit of color to the room. These three are of photos of them and the various places they've traveled.

I wish the vases were a little more different in height and shape
 but oh well....they still look pretty.
 This photo is one I took from when we were in London 2 years ago. The picture is of the gardens and that's Hatfield House in the distance. (A place we really enjoyed visiting)

This lamp was a splurge! We both loved it so much and just died over its shape and how its sleek and sparkly, but not too gaudy (for us at least, ha ha).  Every room should have something in it that you just looooove.
Yes, there's little diamonds on the border of the lampshade.

The color and texture of this vase, with the splash of greenery is a nice small touch we thought. (The plant is from ikea, we had to smash it out of its pot to get it to fit into the pot. Took us awhile to get it out before I finally handed it over to my 15 year brother and let him wail on it outside to break the concrete it was lined in.)
Ignore the cord from their old cable box. We didn't hide it well.

All in all we are happy with the way it turned out. It feels so nice and tranquil in real life! We love it. I think we did a good job of mixing textures, patterns and tone. Its a little bit masculine - the leather headboard and the leather benches, the black furniture. And then a little bit feminine with the velvet and satin pillows, and a few shiny pieces here and there. 

Getting nerdy now, but I also really like the that the bedding texture/pattern is kind of subtly reflected in the accessories (the round balls of the lamp stand against the square mirror).

And most importantly my mom loves her new room! Finally she has a space that is all the way finished, personal and a place she loves. She deserves it!

My mom in her new space. Let's just hope that Mark likes it!!

What a fun makeover! Don't you just love a Before and After? :) I can't wait to do another!

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