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This, That, & The Other Thing

Tuesday, September 25

A bunch of things I've been loving/obsessing over lately:

These Simplified Planners by Emily Ley. Gorgeous. Not cheap. But stunning. And refillable. And customizable. And oh so pretty. Do I really need to provide any further justification?
Available here.

Pretty metal letters from Gauge NYC. Who doesn't love a good monogram?
Available here.

Mumford & Sons' new album, which just came out and has been on repeat since I downloaded it this morning. Very similar to their first, but I loved their first, so no complaints here.

This adorable eensy weensy NYC apartment inhabited by two Canadians, found on Apartment Therapy. I love small spaces as long as I don't have to work from home in one.
House Tour here.

Tribal print, especially on bags. Both found via Pinterest although only one is still available.
Billabong. Available here.
Ralph Lauren. No longer on their website. Found here.

All leopard everything. Shocking, I know. Especially this maxi & these moccasins.
via The Blonde Salad

Available here, in a darker colour.

YouTube makeup tutorials from Lisa Eldridge. So great. Plus, she has a sweet British accent, so that's cool.

Dogs in sweaters and dogs on swings. Enough said.
Found via Pinterest, originally from this blog in a language I can't read.

Songza. My friend Vic got me hooked and I've proceeded to spread the obsession to everyone in range. You're next. Try it. You'll love it.

This almond croissant from Two if by Sea. That beast was the size of my head. And SO GOOD.

This tumblr. It's just... endless entertainment. #myfriendsaremarried
p.s. To my friends who are ACTUALLY married, you're awesome. Don't ever change.

This no-heat hair curling tutorial. I actually learned from a different tutorial but it was really long and annoying and this one is much more palatable. I use a skinny stretchy elastic headband instead of a thick one and it works great. I find best results come when your hair is 75-80% dry and you sleep on it. I also blowdry it quickly and let it cool off before I take it out. I've tried it on my hair when it was longer and again now that it's shoulder-length - I think it works way better on my shoulder-length hair but that might just be personal preference. Also, I've been sans hair-straightener for the past month, so this is seriously the only hair technique I've been able to do.
This is what it looks like on my hair:
Please ignore the completely blank facial expression and photo locale.
***Update: A friend tried this method and her hair got stuck! She had to cut it out. This has never happened to me but if you try it - make sure to take out one section of hair at a time, starting at the front. This is how I make sure my hair doesn't get tangled around the headband.

In conclusion:
 You're welcome.

Beauty Haul

Friday, September 21

I don't know about you, but I LOVE getting things in the mail. Actually, let me clarify. I like getting fun things in the mail (e.g., cards from friends, magazines, amazon orders, free samples, you name it). So it should come as no surprise that I signed up for Luxe Box as soon as I heard about it. Americans probably know it as Birch Box but the Canadian iteration hails from Loose Button and is known as Luxe Box. Basically the premise is that for a small fee, you get a box full of beauty product samples in the mail every so often. (When I signed up, it was a monthly delivery but they've recently switched to seasonal delivery.) And these aren't your wimpy little plastic envelopes with a day's worth of moisturizer - these are serious samples. Sometimes, you even get a full-sized product! It's a great way to test out new products (especially ones that may be more expensive) without having to splurge on a whole bottle. My Fall Luxe Box arrived last week and I thought I would share my spoils with you, along with a little review of what I've tried so far.

First off, here is the box:
Super cute packaging with a simple design
Then, inside the box, is a little note for you about all of the products you're getting in this season's installment. I can't remember if they still are (I've since disposed of the note) but they used to be personally addressed to you (with a little sticker that said "Made for Vanessa"). It's a nice touch.
 Here's what came in my Luxe Box this time:

1. Kerastase Hair Oil - This is actually the only one I haven't used yet, so no review, but it's a nice size to throw in your cosmetic case when you travel, so I'll probably save it for that. I'm a pretty loyal Moroccanoil user, but my container always leaks when I travel, so this may be a good alternative.
Kerastase Hair Oil (Excuse the terrible iPhone photos - I STILL haven't found my camera cord)
2. B. Kamins Eye Cream  - I've used this one at night a few times. It's a pretty tiny sample, so I can't really speak to whether it's better than any other eye creams I've tried. It does make the skin around my eyes feel really moisturized though, so no complaints.
B. Kamins Eye Cream (Also excuse the chipping manicure; I fixed it later that day)
3. Next up was a full-size China Glaze nail polish in Purr-fect Plum. I really liked this one! I've used China Glaze for manis before and it wears well. The colour is definitely on trend for fall, but I probably wouldn't have bought this exact colour in the store because it's very similar to a colour I already own by Essie (Bahama Mama). If you're in the market for a polish this shade though, I do recommend this one.
China Glaze in Purr-fect Plum
4. Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner in black. This one is pretty cool. It's like a marker. I've used a similar one by Physician's Formula before and find that the marker style liquid liner is a lot easier to maneuver than a brush-style applicator. The only issue that I have with this one is that I don't find it to be quite dark enough. When I wear black liquid liner, it's usually for winged liner and I like it to be REALLY dark. This one works better for a daytime look, IMO. I think it would also be a good one to try if this is your first foray into liquid liner - easy to handle and not so dark that it's really obvious if you mess it up a little.
Marker-style applicator
5. Blinc Mascara in black. This one is really cool. It's one of the new mascaras that claims to put little tubes around your eyelashes, rather than painting them. Sounds kind of weird, I know. The benefit is that these tubes won't "run, smudge, clump, or flake" and that you don't need to use makeup remover to take it off. Rubbing your eyelashes with wet fingers pulls the tubes right off. I actually loved this one. It's a fairly natural look, so if you're looking for intense faux-lash like mascara, this is not the one for you (but do I EVER have a recommendation for you - see below). It's nice for a casual daytime look though. I also find it to be really great for bottom lashes. I don't know if it's the shape of my eyes or just that my eyelashes are slipperier than most (is that a thing?) but anytime I wear mascara on my bottom lashes, it all ends up on the skin beneath my eyes. Even waterproof won't stay put. This stuff works! Because of the tubes, the mascara doesn't smudge or run under my eyes at all! For that reason alone, I love it. My typical routine these days is L'Oreal Voluminous False Fiber Lashes (my FAVOURITE mascara) on the top and Blinc on the bottom. Stays put all day.
Arrived in this adorable aluminum tube
6. Lady Million perfume by Paco Rabanne. Putting aside the ridiculous name, I LOVE this scent. I received another perfume by Paco Rabanne in a previous Luxe Box (Black XS) and loved that one as well. Prior to that, I had never heard of this brand. I'm terrible at describing perfume, so I'll just tell you that it smells awesome (and ladylike, if that makes sense) and the website describes it as having "green and floral notes, such as lily of the valley, gardenia or even hyacinth." (Omission of the oxford comma was theirs, not mine. Shudder.)
 7. The final product in my Luxe Box was a little exfoliater pad, which came in this cute little box:
The product itself felt kind of cheap compared to everything else they sent. I'm not really sure why they included it. I forgot to take a picture before I used it but it started to fray almost immediately. Not the best product, but the rest of the samples more than made up for its inclusion.

So that's my run-down on Luxe Box. If you're a beauty product junky like me, it's a fun way to try out new products without having to invest in the full-size of something you may not like.

I also wanted to share my new FAVOURITE THING EVER. This did not come in my Luxe Box, but I read a review of it online somewhere (I have NO idea where) and decided to try it out: Tarte Smooth Operator.

This powder is amazing. It's a "micronized clay finishing powder." I had no idea what that meant, except that it promised to shrink my pores and keep my makeup on all day. It is SO good, you guys. It's a pure white powder that goes on translucent and sets your makeup. I've always had a problem with enlarged pores and after using this stuff, my pores were microscopic. Sold. Although it's supposed to be translucent, I do wonder how the white powder would work on someone who isn't paler than a snowman, like me. If you've got darker skin and you've tried it, let me know. I'm curious.

Bohemian Workspace

Thursday, September 20

I have a few posts in the works but none are quite ready yet, so I pulled this room design out of my Polyvore archive.  I was inspired to create this room when I saw this adorable chair in my email inbox, courtesy of HomeMint. HomeMint (and ShoeMint for that matter) have seriously adorable wares that I am always tempted to order. Unfortunately, HomeMint doesn't currently ship to Canada, so for now, these pretties will have to stay in my daydreams. This particular chair is a little more bohemian than I typically go for and I love the way the Kilim works with the shape of the chair.
Workspace inspired by HomeMint chairs

Toile de Jouy Wallpaper
61 CAD -

Clybourn Desk
1,950 CAD -

Diego Room Divider
1,560 CAD -

Linen Curtain Fabric
230 CAD -

IKEA Kottebo
17 CAD -

Apple Store (Canada)
1,170 CAD -

Multi Kilim Arm Chair

Lessons in Spray Painting

Thursday, September 13

This is the story of how DIY almost kicked my butt. Again.

As I've shared before, DIY and I have some issues. It's not in the idea phase. It's all about the execution.  Apparently, this is one of those things that comes from practice. Making your own mistakes, etc. But really. Can't I learn from someone else's mistakes? Can't YOU learn from mine? Please do. So, here is what happened:

My mom had this little makeup mirror:
Straight out of Liberace's mansion
Ugly, right? Not exactly my style. She was going to yardsale it. It was in the yardsale bin and everything. But then I realized that having a makeup mirror would actually be super helpful. So I dug it out, picked up a can of Oxford Blue spray paint at Michael's, and hatched my plan.
My supplies - mirror, paper towel, Windex, painter's tape, sand paper, spray paint, and fliers
First, I cleaned it up a little.
Scrub Scrub
Then, I sanded it a bit to rough it up for the spray paint.
Was this necessary? Who knows?!
I know sanding is necessary for a lot of paint jobs but I have no idea whether it was necessary on my metal and faux-marble makeup mirror. I did it anyway. What grit did I use? No idea. It was a piece left over from a long time ago that I found in my "tool purse", as my sister calls it. The texture was pretty rough though, if that helps. I bet you're learning so much already, right?
The illustrious tool purse
Next, I taped up the mirror so that it wouldn't get paint on it. This was a challenge. Round things are hard to tape accurately. I ended up taping over the whole thing vertically and then using a paring knife to cut around the edge. An exacto-knife would probably work best, but I couldn't find mine. I actually just used the point of the paring knife, with the sharp end facing up - it seemed to work best.
 Then, I brought it down on the grass, spread out some fliers (thanks Winners!), and set out to apply "several thin and even coats." Haha, NOT. I don't know if it was my lack of spray-painting expertise or something screwy with the nozzle, but I could not get a thin-and-even coat for the life of me. So I just sprayed a bunch, waited a minute or two (as per the directions) and sprayed again from a different angle, until the whole thing seemed to be covered.
The set-up
Several quick-and-blobby coats is more like it.
 Eventually, it looked like this:
Not terrible.
Not too bad thus far. Then, I pried it up from the paper and noticed this:
I was too bummed to think to take a photo immediately after but you get the idea.
So Lesson #1: Use a plastic garbage bag instead of paper. Paper attaches itself to paint. Who would have guessed??? (Note the sarcasm).

Then, I peeled back the tape on one side and discovered that my tape job was, unsurprisingly, subpar. See all of that blue paint around the edge of the mirror? NOT cool, tape. Not cool.
Obviously this is the tape's fault and not my superior application skills ;)
Luckily, with a cotton ball, some nail polish remover (the one that's full of nasty acetone, none of that wimpy acetone-free stuff), and some serious scrubbing, most of that paint came off. So, Lesson #2: Make sure your tape job is REALLY good.

So here is the (almost) finished product:
Ta Da!
Of course, it still needs a few touch-ups (paint thinner on the mirror itself, a paint brush dipped in the paint to fix the front), but overall, I really like how it turned out! The uniform peacock blue colour is fun. Now the mirror is functional AND cute... as long as you don't look too closely.