Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy Holidays from my nails!

The red is Deborah Lippman's Do Ya Think I'm Sexy, and the green on my ring finger is OPI Fresh Frog of Bel-Air.
Fresh frog of Bel-Air? Why not frog prince of Bel-Air? Golden opportunity missed there, guys.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Coffee Bean Make Up Brush Tutorial 2: The Sequeling!

I have been quite pleased by my coffee bean make up brush display. It's been weeks and whenever I use my brushes in the AM I still get a whiff of coffee. However, I am far from satisfied with the state of affairs in my bathroom, and I'm trying to use the coffee bean display as a jumping off point for the rest of the space.

I originally wanted to do this whole immersive zen theme, by adding in a bamboo space saver/tank topper/whatever you call it that goes over the toilet. Can we pause for a sec and just agree on what to call it once and for all? I'm going to call it the space saver, because that had the most hits on Amazon.

I was planning on purchasing a lovely bamboo space saver, even had it all picked out on Amazon, and when we moved in I saw that the previous tenants left behind their old silver space saver. Why leave it behind? Probably because it's ugly. I was chagrined at being thwarted by this turn of events. I could have just junked it and bought a new space saver, but 1) I didn't want to spend the money, honey, and 2) I accepted this as a challenge to take my design in a new direction.

I was fresh from the flush of success of the coffee bean display, and wanted to keep on with the theme of displaying my sundries. I really liked the look of old apothecary jars. And add the "lol, I'm a pharmacist" aspect to it, and it seemed like the perfect fit to use old jars to display sundries.

Problem: old apothecary jars are 'spensive. I saw them at Pottery Barn and knew the jig was up, they'd become too popular, and acquiring apothecary jars at a reasonable price would be a pain in the ass. So undeterred, I revised my design theme from "nature" to "olde apothecary shoppe" to "sleek modern calmness".

Pottery Barn / You will be mine someday!

As so often happens, I got some inspiration while strolling through IKEA. The people who work there must  be geniuses. Never around when you have a question, probably because they are coming up with the next 25 sq ft dream condo. Anyway, one of the kitchen displays used round glass jars to store mixing spoons and measuring cups, and the idea stuck with me. By the next time I was at Target, the idea had fermented into a plan. I went to the bathroom supplies aisle and found some circular glass jars. They were a bit pricey, though. My idea was to get three jars, and total it would have been around $30 - $40 bucks.  I wandered around a little more, then stumbled upon rectangular glass jars in the kitchen section that would cost me around $20 bucks. Sold! I don't know if I was paying more just because it was a bathroom item and not a kitchen item, or if circular jars are really pricier, but I was happy enough with rectangular jars.

I think the effect is the same: clean, modern, simple sundries:

Now to figure out what to do with the other two shelves of the space saver!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Coffee Bean Make Up Brush Holder Tutorial

This DIY post is a simple one, but imbued with vainglory nonetheless.

I am not a morning person. Some days it is just hard to get up and go. I'm constantly looking for ways to make my AM routine easier and perkier. I got the idea from my friend Funaek at Lil Smug Pug to incorporate sipping an iced coffee into my morning make up ritual. Brilliant! This usually works to  start my day wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, but sometimes even the promise of iced coffee isn't enough to motivate me.

I've only recently acquired the taste of coffee, but I'd always been able to appreciate coffee-related pleasures like coffee-flavored ice cream, coffee liquor, and the smell of coffee beans. This project seems like the perfect way to organize and energize my bathroom AND the materials are cheap.

The materials you'll need:
A clear glass or acrylic jar
Your make up brushes
1 pound of coffee beans (I might have almost bought ground coffee by accident. Don't do that.)


I'm really pleased with how it looks in my bathroom. My goal with the bathroom is to make it as spa-like as possible. Pics will be shared when said bathroom achieves a recognizable level of spa-ness!

Et voila!
This project has made me realize that I need to beef up my make up brush collection. A friend of mine swears by regular paint brushes and claims that make up brushes are exactly the same, just with a huge mark up. 

Has anyone ever used paint brushes for make up?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Cats and Crazy, The Chicken and the Egg Dilemma

So do crazy people get cats or do cats make people crazy? We may never know.

Our vet said that each cat household should have N+1 cat litter boxes, where N = the number of cats you own. This means that I had to do some litter box research, which is great!  Because I'm a nerd and I loooove research!  

The first thing I considered was appearance. Let's face it, looking at a box of sh!t is an eyesore.  Luckily there are plenty of options that try and cleverly (and not-so-cleverly) hide the cat's WC.

This has GOT to be a gag gift, amirite?
I've never seen a cat look more embarrassed / KattySaks via Amazon

I needed to find a box solution with better camouflage.  Enter Good Pet Stuff:
Kind of fug / Good Pet Stuff via Amazon

I vetoed that idea simply because the pressure of keeping a cat AND a plant alive was too great.
Finally I thought I found something that I liked:
Designer Catbox Litter Box / Via Amazon

Is it furniture?  Is it litter box? A lil' of both!  The shape of the piece above wasn't exactly to my liking, but I read reviews that you could customize it a bit.  It also provides an elegant solution to the problem of "tracking", or cat litter getting all over the floor:
Via Amazon
I wasn't sure I was sold on the idea of a faux piece of furniture, so next I looked at litter boxes that minimized tracking. I found a box that was basically a bucket with a hole in the top. Practical, sure, but ugly as sin. And then I stumbled upon this:
Hello, I'm $160 / via modkat

It's a bucket with a hole on the top! A fancy bucket with a hole on the top!
via modkat
The top of box can swivel 90 degrees so that excess litter can fall back into the box. It also comes with a litter scooper that has a handy brush on the side.

 I didn't anticipate how hard it would be to strike a careful balance between my sanity and finding something that will please my cat.

So which one did I choose??

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Newspaper Nails Tutorial

Painting my own nails has become something of a hobby recently.  I still love a good mani/pedi session at a salon, especially if BYOB and girlfriends are involved, but now I find satisfaction and relaxation in the art of painting my own nails.

Today's DIY project is simple and sure to fill you with vainglory. I present: Newspaper Nails!
Pic and tutorial (if you habla francais) from La Passion du Nail Art

You're going to need: a newspaper, a pair of scissors, a neutral shade of nail polish, a base coat and top coat, some alcohol (I used vodka), and a small bowl

Prep work: Cut out 10 strips of newspaper which contain text that are about 2 inches square. Then fill your shallow bowl with enough alcohol so that you can submerge your finger.

Step 1: Paint your nails, but leave off the top coat. Allow the nail polish to dry.
I use Sand Tropez by Essie
 Step 2: Dip fingernail in alcohol for 3 - 5 seconds.

 Step 3: Gently but firmly place strips of newspaper on your now alcohol soaked nail. Be sure not to push down too hard or you may smudge your nail polish. I usually hold the paper on for about 5 - 10 seconds.
Hold paper firmly in place so that the text doesn't blur
Another shot of my paper-holding technique
 Step 4: Carefully peel the paper off.  If you see your nail polish stick to the paper and come off with it,  repaint the nail and try again.
Peeling the paper off slooooowly is the key!
Step 5: If satisfied, paint the nail with top coat and then you're done!
Ugh! I messed up! Now what? If you're unhappy with the results, say if the text smudged, then it's a pretty easy do-over. Dab a cotton swab with nail polish remover and gently swipe the nail. With a light touch the newspaper print should come off and the base color nail polish should stay on. Repaint the nail, if desired, then try again when the nail is dry.  You'll be a pro at this in no time!
Don't sweat about the newspaper text bleeding onto your skin, that's an easy fix

I always get some ink on or around my fingers. Just go ahead and paint the top coat and when you're satisfied that the top coat has set, then you'll find that the ink stains come out of the skin easily with a good scrubbing and your beautiful nails remain!

Now marvel at your handiwork!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Roadblocks to productivity

I have heard a myth, a legend, an American Tall Tale that pets exude laziness rays from which there can be no escape.  Who among us pet owners hasn't decided to sleep in an extra five minutes because you've woken up to find your furry friend snuggled up on the bed?  They give a terrific yawn, squeeze their eyes shut and we are powerless to get our day started.

Cat on my arm

As I try and start my blog I find that my cat has made the executive decision to annex my arm for a pillow.  But I was able to push through these distractions and open up this little Blogger account.  Welcome.