Tuesday, June 24, 2014

My Favorite New Products

Dear Marleigh,

I have yet to do a real beauty post so I figured it is about time. I have a line up of products I have gotten recently and have used long  enough to know that I love them and can give proper reviews. I am going to post myself sans-makeup (Gasp!) and guide you through my basic routine as well as showcase the new products and where to get them. I am not receiving any compensation for my reviews, just want to put my tested and true opinions of these products out there. 

Lets start off with my pre-makeup cleanser, I have recently become obsessed with Olay products as my mom uses them and turned me onto how great they truly work. I have acne prone skin and my new combo of products has helped clear me up quite a bit. 

I love the Olay Fresh Effects Out of This Swirled Deep Pore Exfoliating Scrub (Thats a mouth full!) I use it everyday and night but every three days I use it with my new OlayPro-X Advanced Cleansing System Spin Brush, it came with its own exfoliant scrub but I used that up quickly so the Fresh Effects is a nice replacement. I also bought a box of replacement spin brush heads and use one to wash and then one to buff in the Olay Professional Pro-X Age Repair Lotion with SPF 30 that came with the spin brush. It really helps get rid of any flakey-ness or dry skin left behind from picking at my acne (I know, I know, but I can't help it)

Here is myself after cleansing and without any makeup, I feel very venerable without my makeup, as I have been wearing it since I was 13 to cover my skin issues. I'm pretty clear right now other than the bad scarring I have under my lower lip from a recent breakout.

After I let my Age Repair Lotion Dry for a bit I bust out my number one favorite new product, which I believe is the KEY to helping reduce my number of breakouts. If I don't use it every morning and night I literally can feel the breakouts forming. 

This is my TapRoot Farms 100% Natural Moroccan Argan Oil. There is a lot of hype about Moroccan Argan Oils but after doing tons of research I believe the oil only works in its pure form, the stuff you buy at Walmart has other additives no matter if the bottle says "Natural" or not. TapRoot Farms is a company based out of Alaska and I have it shipped to Michigan, and for $14 it is the cheapest 100% Natural Moroccan Argan oil I have found to-date. 

I put one pump in the palm of my hand and dot it on my forehead, cheeks, nose, chin and under my eyes and rub it in really well. It absorbs much quicker than the coconut oil I have previously used. You can barely see it in my hand because it is so pure. 

I typically go blow dry my hair at this point so the oil has plenty of time to fully absorb, and after that I use a basic skin primer so my new Bare Minerals Bare Skin Serum Foundation really sticks. This is Bare Minerals newest beauty innovation as it is 100% natural and their first liquid foundation in the 20 years Bare Minerals has been around. I have always used their powder foundation so I knew I had to give it a try.
Now, let me start off by saying, YOU MUST BUY THE 
PERFECTING FACE BRUSH that was made specifically for this foundation. Trust me, I took my makeup to my moms house one night and her Chihuahua, Zeek, stole my brush and hid it. I spent the next two weeks trying to perfect the application with other brushes and beauty blenders to no avail. It always looked streaky and gross without the brush to really blend it in. Luckily, my mom found the brush and all is well again.  

The brush has a little reservoir pit that holds the serum perfectly. Shake well (This is VERY important, as there are no binders in this serum to hold the ingredients together), your application will be streaky if you don't. 
The best thing about this new serum is you can decide how much coverage you need. Bare Minerals suggests 2 drops for sheer coverage, 4 drops for medium coverage and 6 drops for full coverage. 
I start off with one drop per area of my face, totaling 3-4 drops. 1 drop for the left cheek area, 1 drop for the right cheek area, 1 drop for my forehead/nose and sometimes 1 additional drop for my chin/neck if I need more coverage. 
Buff each drop into your skin in a circular motion until you get the desired finish you like. 
It really looks like bare skin, just better! I sometimes use some of my powder Bare Minerals Foundation to cover problem areas but that is rarely needed and I finish it off with my homemade version of mineral veil (Cornstarch and powder foundation for color),because my skin gets oily at times. 

I'm not going to take you through the rest of my routine (filling in eyebrows, eyeshadow, mascara, etc. because you get the idea). But i am going to move onto my new favorite red lipstick. MAC Ruby Woo is MACs most raved about red lipstick because not only is it a matte color, but it looks great on just about any skin tone. 
Now, I am cheap, I mean I don't ever spend a lot on lipsticks because they are just going to be kissed off if you know what I mean (; so spending $16 on lipstick about killed me, I wasn't going to spend $13 more on a lip pencil to match, after doing some research I found that NYX Hot Red Lip Pencil is a close match for only $3.49. SOLD!
I like to line my lips just a bit out of my natural lip line so my lips look a bit fuller but not overdone.
Because this lipstick is matte, it does get a bit dry on the lips so I put any regular Chapstick over it to keep my lips a bit moist without effecting the matte-ness of it, but if you like I'm sure a clear gloss would give Ruby Woo a nice look as well. 
Finished product! Hope this is helpful in deciding what new products to try out, I know you won't be sorry! If you want to purchase any of the products I have reviewed here there are links directly to where to them purchase online throughout the post. What new products have you tried and loved lately? Let me know!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Master Bedroom Inspiration Board

Dear Marleigh,

As of late, I have a HUGE obsession (you have no idea) with the navy and gold combo/trend. Nate Berkus is one of my favorite designers and he had a navy and gold collection at target recently, thus adding to my obsession. I love gold anything so thats a given but when I came across these awesome white and navy lampshades (See inspiration board) I finally decided on the theme for our Master Bedroom. It is the perfect combo of masculine for Scott and glam for me (:

I have had the crowns for a while, I purchased them at Hobby Lobby over a year ago. They will hang above our bed, and I'm going to find an empty frame and put the "T" in the frame in between both crowns. I might get a vinyl sticker like "Always Kiss Me Goodnight" to go under all of it but I think I may keep it simple. 

The compass knob is for the antique desk-turned nightstands i'm currently working on. My awesome stepdad, Greg, just finished sawing the tops perfectly for me and I should be done with that redo in a couple weeks. 

I haven't decided on pillows yet for the bed, but if you look at the inspiration board you can see how I plan to style the bed. I bought a gold quilt at this awesome new store in town called "At Home" if you happen to live near one of these stores you MUST check it out. Awesome prices and really cool stuff. I got a king size quilt for $30! I will be doing navy sheets, I prefer white like the picture but my lovely husband is a mechanic and is never truly clean. I'm on the hunt for a white down-alternative comforter, something I can bleach the heck out of if he gets it dirty.  

You met my gold and white striped chest yesterday, I will be adding a DIY tufted bench seat to the top of that for the foot of our bed. I also will be making a matching tufted wing headboard with gold nail-heads. I plan to use a canvas drop cloth for the fabric on both the bench and headboard, because it is cheap and the perfect color I'm looking for.

I'm in the process of painting a wing-back chair as well, that may or may not find a place in our bedroom if I have the room, I guess we will see! Thank you for checking out my vision for my newest decor obsession, reveal coming soon :)

Lampshade - Target
Compass Knob - Hobby Lobby
Metal "T" - Hobby Lobby
King & Queen Crown - Hobby Lobby (I don't think they are available online)
Rest of the Photos - Pinterest

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Paint Perfect Stripes

Dear Marleigh,

Grandpa Bob died of Cancer in 1996 when I was 6 years old. He was the greatest guy in the world, my mom always tells me the story about how she woke up in her hospital room the day after I was born, Grandpa Bob had called into work and was sitting in the corner of the room, holding and just staring at me. He called my cousins and I his "Sweethearts" and I wish everyday that I could have had the pleasure of getting to know him better. 

Alway, I have a large chest that he built before I was born to hold motocross gear (He owned a motocross shop and my dad and uncle still ride to this day). I hold this chest dear to my heart just because he built it, and it has moved with me from place to place over the years. I have always used it to store blankets and sheets at the foot of my bed. While I love the chest and its familiar yet unknown scent inside, it was time for a facelift as I'm in the process of decorating our bedroom with my newest obsession: Navy and Gold (:
*Inspiration Board Coming Soon*

I decided it needed some fun, so why not Gold stripes? I sanded the box down as well as I could, but left some of the damage to give it some character. I started out by painting it the same white color I painted the steamer trunk with my DIY chalk paint. I decided to make the stripes the same height as the top lip of the trunk and taped off my lines with frog tape. I made sure to press the tape down firmly with a gift card.

After taping off my stripes I sealed the lines with a coat of my base color, this is the key to perfect stripes every time!


I let that dry for 24 hours, It is not necessary to let it dry that long with the chalk paint but I did it just to be sure. I used Gold Leaf Rub-N-Buff and rubbed it on with my finger to get an even coat. I did the second coat with a cut up t-shirt to really buff it in.

Normally, if you are using paint you peel the tape off while the paint is still wet, but Rub-N-Buff dries pretty quickly. You want to peel off the tape when your paint is tacky enough to stick without it running but not hard enough to tear off with the tape. Remove the tape slowly and at a 90 degree angle. I had to touch up a few places where the tape ripped up my base color a little bit, so the slower the better. Here is the final striped chest:

It looks great so far, I love it! I plan to make a tufted bench seat for the top of it but that is a little down the road, I will of course post the tutorial when it is completely finished. I know Grandpa Bob would be proud of how crafty I am and appreciate every ounce of love I put into each one of my projects :') 

Project Cost Breakdown:
Chest - Free
White Paint, Already on hand - Free
Roll of Frog Tape - $6
Gold Leaf Rub-N-Buff - $5
 Total: $11

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

DIY Vintage-Look Blanket Ladder

Dear Marleigh,

In all of my decor/organizing madness I finally realized I needed somewhere tasteful to store all of the many throw blankets we are drowning in. My mom got me a fancy knit throw with Scott and I's wedding photo on it, which Scott refers to as "creepy" to have a blanket with our faces on it (he's a gem). My cousin Alicia got us another fuzzy green throw for Christmas, I bought one on clearance at TJ Maxx and not to mention the numerous other throws I have accumulated over the years. 

So what to do with all of them? Blanket Ladder of course! Well I scoured Antique shops for a while keeping my eye out for one; at 60+ bucks a pop that wasn't going over well with my thrifty lifestyle or my pocketbook. So I decided to make one, how hard can it be?

I went to my trusty Menards and picked up two 2x2x8 boards (not sure what kind of wood they are) I laid them on the floor of Menards to insure they are as straight as possible. Also purchased two 1 inch dowels and a 1 inch wood drill bit. I sanded down each piece of wood and the dowels, as well as the edges to make the wood more worn-down looking.

I decided on how tall I wanted my ladder to be and how many rungs I wanted, which was 7 foot tall and 6 rungs. Using my mad math skills I found that my top rung would be 6 inches from the top (allowing 1 inch for the placement of the dowel) and each rung thereafter would have 13 inches in-between, leaving 6 inches after the last rung. Each rung is 18 inches long. 

After I got all the measurements drawn out and the wood cut, we started by drilling the 1 inch holes for the rungs to fit into. 

We drilled all the way until the tip of the drill bit just started to peak out the other side. I originally only wanted to drill 1/2 inch deep holes hence the green tape on the bit but the holes were too big for the dowels. Someone lied about their sizes! If I had some wood glue I would have just used that to make them fit properly. Butttt, I didn't, so drilling almost all the way through was my fix. 

We put the dowels in the slots of one of the 2x2's and screwed through the other side into the rungs to secure them in place.

We did the same on the other side and now we have a ladder!

Sorry for the bad photo quality, my camera is lacking its charging component because I suck at packing and never pack stuff that needs to be together the logical way, therefore its still in the abyss that is my storage unit.

I knew I wanted to stain the ladder but I have zero experience with it and I live in a tiny apartment so stain wasn't really an option. So I took to the fandangled internet an found a solution: Tea Bags, Vinegar and Steel Wool. 

I ripped up a piece of fine 0000 steel wool and put it in a mason jar with regular white vinegar. I let it sit for over 24 hours, it basically creates liquid rust, perfect for staining. After letting it sit I brewed 3 regular lipton tea bags and let it sit for a few hours. I painted the wood with the tea and let it dry, and did it a second time. The wood won't change color, just look wet until dry.

After it was fully dry I brushed on the steel wool mixture (after I disposed the wool). I found it was easier to actually brush on with a sponge to get even coverage. I three coats of this mixture to achieve the color I wanted, you can do more or less to achieve the color you prefer. Be sure to let it dry fully in between each coat because the color will develop as it drys.

I waxed it with Johnson's Paste Wax so you can really see the grain in the wood, it's the perfect height and I love the color of it!

Price List:
Two 2x2s - $4
Two 1 Inch dowels - $6
Steel Wool - $3
1 Inch Drill Bit - $4
Vinegar already on hand
Tea bags already on hand
Total: $17

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

New Purchases

Dear Marleigh,

Of Course, everyone loves new purchases, but do you know what I love even more? An awesome deal! I am a clearance isle, coupon cutting, thrifty chic Queen. Today I got some deals so I am excited to share. 

I went to Hobby Lobby today to look for a tray for my new Streamer Trunk Coffee Table, I knew I needed something small and it had to fit the color scheme of the pillows and ottoman that give my living room the pop of color it needed. You can see those when I finally reveal my apartment after I get the updates finished. I found an awesome mustard yellow chevron print metal tray on sale for only $10!  

I got the white ceramic bowl and a matching vase (not pictured)at walmart in the clearance isle for a grand total of $17. I plan to fill the bowl with river rocks and put 3 of the birch tree candles we used in our centerpieces for our wedding. Those are trapped in our storage unit somewhere so thats a bit away.  

I have been looking for a while for something to put the kitchen utensils in for a while. I had my eye on a pitcher vase from IKEA for this, unfortunately I live almost 3 hours from the nearest IKEA so those trips are few and far between. I wasn't expecting to find something else at Hobby Lobby but this vase is similar to my walmart clearance finds and will do the job :) I picked it up for a little over $7 with a 40% off coupon!

Hope you enjoy my new finds, what are some awesome pieces you have picked up for a deal recently? Flaunt em' to us! :)

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Waxing & Steamer Trunk Coffee Table Reveal

Dear Marleigh,

I'm back sooner than expected on this project, I just couldn't wait to finish it! It turned out better than I expected and of course, Scott told me how awesome it is and sorry that he doubted me. :P

I went and picked up all I needed to finish the project, Menards is my go-to spot for stuff like this because they always seem to have exactly what I need where as Home Depot and Lowes lack sometimes. 

I got:
16oz Johnson's Paste Wax (In the cleaning section)
Packet (4 Yards) of Cheesecloth
6 Pack of Medium Grit Angled Sanding Sponges
Rubber Gloves & Face Mask
4 6in table legs
Drill Bit 1/4 smaller than the table legs screws

The waxing process:

After I finished distressing and sanding down the trunk really well (I really had to put my back into this) I of course washed the trunk a couple times to get rid of the dust, and decided to jump right in.
I was super scared of the waxing process, other blogs made it seem like this huge chore you could mess up at the drop of a hat. I'm not sure if I did it wrong and thats why it ended up being easy for me or what. It looks good a feels protected so I don't really care I suppose. 

After putting on my gloves and face mask (The Johnson's Paste Wax is awful smelling) I cut a decent size of cheesecloth and just started rubbing small amounts (thin layer) into the trunk, working in small sections. I used a old cut up t-shirt of Scotts to wipe away the excess as I went. WARNING: Heavy buffing or wiping as you wipe the excess will cause more distressing, so if your piece is exactly how you want it, make sure you don't press too hard until after it has dried a bit.

I would let it dry for 20-30 mins or so (the more time you wait is better I heard) and really buffed it in with a new piece of cheesecloth. I let it sit overnight and buffed it again in the morning to really shine it up. I did 3 coats because of the extra wear and tear this piece will get. 

Johnson's paste wax is super easy to work with, my apartment is quite warm, so it was pretty soft and easy to rub in. If yours isn't soft you can put some in a microwave safe container and nuke it for 20-30 seconds and it will soften right up. After other blogs I have read and the easy time I had with this wax I believe Johnson's Paste Wax will always be my go-to wax. It's Cheap too.

At Menards they have the table legs with screws already in them. Scott bought a drill bit 1/4 in smaller than the screws, drilled the holes where we wanted them and was able to easily tread them into the holes. I painted them with the same color chalk paint.

Ready for the Reveal? *Drumroll*


& After:

I'm super happy with it, it looks much better in person because you can really see all the distressing and how lovely it is. 

Project Cost Breakdown:
Steamer Trunk - $30
Gallon of Paint (with tons left over) - $14
Plaster of Paris (tons left over) - $6
Painting Supplies - $5
Johnson's Paste Wax - $6
Waxing Supplies - $6
Table Legs - $12
Sanding Sponges - $5
TOTAL: $84 

Most of the stuff I can use for other upcoming projects, I think this is a steal considering I still find some original steamer trunks on craigslist for $100-$200!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

DiY Chalk Paint & Steamer Trunk Redo

Dear Marleigh,

I finally got around to doing my first DIY project at our new apartment. We are getting settled in nicely but I'm waiting on my taxes and a few more purchases before I do any kind of reveal. Scott and I call this place "The Pig" and all my projects and attempts to make it home is putting "Lipstick on a Pig". Ha, I promise it's not that bad but it is nothing glamorous let me tell you. Well I'll get to it. 

I decided right after we moved in that I NEEDED an antique steamer trunk and I was going to make it into a coffee table. Of course, Scott looked at me like I was crazy as he does with all my project ideas until I really do them and he tells me how cool they actually look. Being the Craigslist junkie that I am, I scoured the site for weeks looking for the perfect trunk and the perfect price(; Well last monday I finally found it, we went and purchased it on friday (Scott's birthday, happy birthday to him, ha) and I was arms deep by sunday.

Here's the trunk at the resale shop I purchased it at:

and my inspiration:

Not exact, but pretty close right? This picture also makes me sad I gave my antique corona typewriter to my Grandpa Russ because he begged me for it (but I typed and taped a note on it that said, "To Be Returned Upon Death" and Grandpa thought that was hilarious, sick minds I know.) 

Now that I had my beloved steamer trunk I decided how I was going to do this. I have heard so much about Chalk paint and wanted to try it for a while now but at $35 a quart that just wasn't going to cut it for me. So I took to the trusty Pinterest site and found a recipe to make my very own chalk paint. This whole process has been a lot of trial and error by the way. 

I know that with chalk paint you don't need to prep, but I did it anyways, the paint before was shiny and with this becoming a coffee table I know it will get some wear and tear. I washed it down with warm water and a splash of vinegar and let it dry before I started sanding, cause it was pretty dirty. I used 240 grit sand paper.

After I sanded it all down pretty well I washed it a few times with warm water to get rid of the dust from sanding. Finally, I can paint!

My first batch I used this recipe:
1/2 cup Plaster of Paris (can be found at Lowes, Menards, Home Depot, and I've heard Michael's or Hobby Lobby as well)
1/2 Cup of Water 
1 1/2 cups paint (I used a Satin premixed from Menards)

First I mixed the 1/2 cup Plaster of Paris with the 1/2 cup water and I mixed until all the lumps were gone and got a thin paste-like substance.

Then I added the 1 1/2 cups of paint. This is where my trial and error comes in, if I could do it over again (which I did in my second batch) I would mix the plaster of Paris first in a separate container and then add that to my paint, because this way was pretty hard to get the plaster of paris mixture off the bottom of the bucket and to mix smoothly into my paint. Learn from my mistakes! I Mixed it as good as I could, it seemed runnier than I wanted.

I did two coats with this recipe with a sponge brush, It dries much faster than regular paint (most of the time the top was done drying by the time I finished the whole thing). I read in another blog (I can't recall which one) after I finished painting that you should lightly sand in between coats to achieve a really even finish, I wish I would have done that. Lessons for next time. After two coats I knew I wanted to change something in my recipe because other blogs say you can cover in two coats, and I knew there was no way my paint would do that.

Second Batch of Chalk Paint:
2 Heaping Tablespoons Plaster of Paris
2 tablespoons Water
1 Cup Paint

Mix the Plaster of Paris and water in separate container until the lumps are gone, I had a thicker paste this time around and was happy with it. Then add that to the 1 cup paint and mix well. (I wish I had a mason jar cause I would just shake the heck out of it and be able to store leftovers for later). This batch was more paint-like this time, and covered much better. I was able to cover with the third coat and just went around and touched up after that was dry.

 Here it is with the painting finally done. I am going to distress it and wax with Johnson's Paste Wax hopefully over the weekend and then add the legs. Next post will be my trial and error with the waxing process and the final reveal! Come back and see it soon :)