• Organization of Magazine Clippings Using Binders

    This is a post about what to do with all the recipes or ideas that you may have collected from magazines over the years.  People talk about how magazines have gone by the wayside with the advent of e-readers, etc. but magazines will never go away for me.  I love them for when I just want to completely shut my brain down, turn away from electricity, and relax on the couch, at the beach, or in the bath.  There are times it’s just not practical to hold an electronic device or when you want to give your eyes a break from glowing rectangles.  Seeing magazines arrive at my house in the mail amid the junk mail and bills is really exciting and the tactile sensation of turning the pages satisfies me.

    I can’t stand when old magazines pile up though because I can’t stand clutter and love organization, so this post is an idea about what I do with all the goodies like recipes, decorating, make-up or hair looks, fashion, etc. found inside them.  I never could quite figure out what to do with all these tidbits, but then I got the idea from my sister to put everything in to 3-ring binders.  She does this with her recipes.

    To organize everything, I created four different binders and divided them in to the following categories: 1) Recipes, 2) Beauty 3) Exercise and Spiritual  (e.g. meditation ideas and peace of mind ideas) and 4) Decorating and Fashion.  I insert each magazine item in to a document protector sleeve. Then I file it in its appropriate binder.  I group like things together and put a file divider in between the main categories.  For example, in my Recipes binder I have a section for entrees, breakfast, appetizers, desserts, drinks, party planning, etc.  In my Beauty binder, I have sections for kitchen beautician, hair, make-up and nail art, etc.

    P1000982P1010467P1010468P1010473P1010475

    Now that I have a place for them, when I flip through catalogs, I earmark the pages of interest.  When I’ve gone through the entire magazine, I put the magazine in to a holder in the same closet that has all my filing stuff.  When the holder fills up, I spend an hour or two to go through them.  I tear each page out that I’ve earmarked and file them in to the binders. I usually do this when Chief selects a movie with lots of guns and car chases and I’m not particularly interested in watching but am trying to be social. When I’m finished tearing out the relevant pages, I either recycle the magazines or bring them with me to my nail salon, gym, or car wash or somewhere else that is happy to accept reading material.

    The reason I like this system is that it keeps the house free of clutter and has all of the stuff I found interesting quickly available.  I also really like the books for inspiration.  If I can’t think of anything to cook, or ideas on how to dress once the seasons change, or a hair or make-up look to try, I can pull out my binder and flip through it.  It’s kind of a soothing activity.  I also really like retaining all the things I read about for doing stuff like my Kitchen Beautician recipes.  It reminds me of what works well together and if I have something in the kitchen or harvested from the garden that I need to use up, I can get ideas about what to concoct with it in my binders.

    As I said, this is a really simple little life hack but one that brings me a lot of peace and happiness!

  • Packing a Toiletry Bag – with Video and List

    I travel a lot and if I don’t have my toiletry bag all ready to go, it only adds to the stress of trying to get everything done and get out of town.  To counteract that, I keep my toiletry bag fully packed and stocked and separate from my everyday routine.  It costs a little bit more up front, but the hassle it saves later is really valuable.

    I have two kits for travel.  One is my liquids which all have to be less than 3 ounces and fit in a quart-sized plastic bag and the other kit has all my other stuff.  Inside the second kit, I keep a pouch with all my make-up brushes and other long, skinny things like eyeliners, mascara, concealer and lipstick.  I have the contents of each listed below where I give the nitty gritty and a packing list PDF at the end if you don’t want the details.

    Liquids
    – Shampoo and conditioner.  If you don’t already have travel-size containers, Pureology or Aveda make great shampoos and conditioners in travel sizes.  Aveda sends free samples with shipping which are nice for travel too.
    – Facial Cleanser – Aveda and Eminence Organic make great travel sizes.  Lately I’ve been doing the oil cleansing method so I just bring a small bottle of oil.
    – Moisturizer.  Consider asking Sephora for a sample and try a fancy new one in a small size at no cost!  Any time I need something from Sephora, I mail order it because then I get the samples (and I have a mall phobia, shudder).
    Dr Bronner’s Soap.  This can do duty as cleanser, shaving cream, clothing detergent, or shampoo.  If all else fails, bring this one thing!
    – Lotion.  I never trust the nasty scented stuff in hotels.  I’ll often mix a fragrance free organic one with vanilla oil.
    – Sunscreen (Bring a lotion with sunscreen to further limit products.)  I also love this Colorscience powder SPF and keep it in my purse to apply to my face.  I can also apply it to Chief to protect his face as he sits patiently and curious onlookers giggle as he begins to sparkle like a teenage vampire.
    – Eye drops – this is a lifesaver after traveling!
    Morrocanoil Hair Oil This stuff is great for keeping hair silky without adding weight.  You may also want to get a travel-sized container of whatever mousse or finishing product you use.  Pure argan oil works great too and can double as night eye cream, as pomade for hair, or can be added to your cleansing oil.
    – Travel size perfume.  Ask at Sephora or a department store for your favorite scent. The vanilla oil below can also work as a subtle perfume.
    Vanilla oil in jojoba oil (for moisturizing, eye cream, perfume, taming flyaways or frizzies and eye-makeup removal) or to add to your cleansing oil.
    – Toothpaste.  Chief recently discovered you could refill the small tubes by “kissing” the big tube to it.
    Coconut oil.  I have lately been packing it in to a small glass jar I had leftover.  It works great for the beach (for body or for putting in your hair and braiding), moisturizing (instead of lotion), or as a personal lubricant.
    – Egyptian Magic Skin Cream in a small container.  I just scoop some out of the regular full-size jar and put it in a travel container.  This stuff is amazing for a night cream and can be smeared over the whole face to moisturize eyes and lips as well.  It also works as a pomade or body moisturizer.

    Other items:
    – Baby powder or dry shampoo.  I like to keep the powder I make in a brush with a refillable base.
    – Venus razor with cartridge.  No shaving cream is needed.
    Smile’s PRID Drawing Salve.  This stuff is great for scrapes or surprise blemishes.  It’s antibacterial.
    – C.O. Bigelow’s Rose Salve.  This can be used for a unisex lip balm, for chapped faces, for a dewy glow, or for eye make-up removal.  I talk about using it on the eyes in this post.
    Ceramic Velcro rollers.  I assume wherever I’m traveling will have a hair dryer.  If not, go natural or twist hair in small sections and pin up with bobby pins until it dries.
    – Brush.  I was extravagant and made this purchase about 6 years ago, assuming I will have it forever.
    – Small wide-tooth comb for wet hair
    – Rubber bands and bobby pins.  These can be lifesavers when hair is wacky from traveling.
    – Toothbrush
    – Floss
    – Deodorant.  I really like the LaVanilla mini deodorant trio while I’m still perfecting my homemade deodorant recipe.
    Body brushBody brushing really helps to invigorate you after a travel and helps fight off some of the infections that can result from lack of sleep or germs in the airplane.
    – Empty spray bottle.  You can fill this with water later and a couple drops of essential oil to get wrinkles/smells out of clothes, hydrate your face, or spritz flowers for macro shots!

    Make-up
    – Beauty Balm for moisturizing, light coverage, and sun protection.  I really like Stila tinted moisturizer and Origins VitaZing cream and have recently been introduced to an obscure brand called Elisha Coy that has an SPF of 30.
    – Double-duty foundation/powder.  I have been using Clinique’s  Superpowderfor literally 20 years.
    – Stain for lips and cheeks.  Sephora brand and Benefit make good ones.  There are probably some great ones on the market I haven’t tried.  Lipgloss or lipstick can also work as blush.
    – Eye shadow palette including neutrals and dark/smoky colors and one bright color if you like.  I had a palette made up at MAC that includes my tried and true favorite colors: Vanilla (for highlighting or sweeping across the whole eyelid), Shroom (for the crease) Black Tied (for smoky eyes or liner) and Atlantic Blue (blue wakes up a tired eye and makes the whites look more white).  I also travel with this Coastal Scents palette (it’s very affordable and has a wide range of colors).
    – Blush (if stain won’t work for you).  Nars Orgasm is a great color that works on almost everyone.
    – Mascara.  I religiously use MAC’s Zoomlash in black.
    – Black eyeliner.  Rimming the inner part of the lower lids is an easy way to glam it up.
    – Concealer.  I love MAC’s Moisturecover.  It draws in and maintains moisture which is key if you’ve been traveling by air or partying at night!
    – Any other lipstick or gloss.  I try to bring my favorite red, pink, and neutral.
    – Make-up brushes.  MAC makes good travel sets but they are only available around the holidays generally.  You can find them at Cosmetics Company Stores at outlet malls in the off-season.  I would recommend the following brushes: Powder brush, blush brush, eye shadow brush, eyebrow brush, blending brush and eyeliner brush.  For a more in-depth tutorial on these, see my blog post on make-up brushes and the tutorial video.

    This list looks like a lot but it is all really compact.  You’ll see on the attached PDF that is is not a lot when broken down without the detail.  I almost never check a bag (carry-on only packing) and it always fits on my person.

    That’s the details that I have also chatted about in this YouTube Video, but I have also made a link to a simple packing list that you can print and/or modify:

    Toiletry Bag Packing List

  • My Favorite Make-up Brushes

    In this post I highlight my favorite make-up brushes and provide a brief description about how to use them.  I used to be completely clueless as to how to do make-up and use brushes until I went to a MAC store for a lesson about 7 years ago.  It was a lot of fun and though I hardly wear any make-up these days, I’m glad I learned how to do it so I have the foundation for creating looks if the mood strikes me.  Because I started with them, I am most familiar with MAC make-up brushes, so those are the ones I refer to in this post.  There are probably other brands that make great brushes too, but this list can help give you an idea of the shape and density you are looking for.

    Check out my video (that I will probably update with an HD version) to see how I use these for a simple contoured eye look.  And for Pete’s sake, please blend your eye make-up better…I got distracted and accidentally skipped that step in this video!

    I used to love playing with makeup  but I’ve become such a homebody nowadays and very rarely go out.  When I do head out, I generally end up running out with wet hair and no make-up to have a pint at the dive bar down the street!  Nevertheless, I still like having all the tools in case I feel like being artistic or playing around and getting glammed up.  I feel like make-up, clothes, and nail polish are easy fixes to totally change your look for a day or night and then you can always revert to your “regular old self” when the fun wears off.  I like not having to make drastic permanent changes.

    It took me years to complete my brush collection as these aren’t inexpensive brushes, but they last forever.  I have bolded the ones I couldn’t do without for everyday makeup (Total = $225) and then listed the other ones I love having in order of importance (Total = $600).  As I said, my collection took years of spending about $25/month on makeup brushes and I baby them.  There are lots of collections out there that sell brushes in a bundle, but I find the collections rarely have everything I want and often are filled with a lot of things I don’t need.  All the brushes listed are linked to the MAC page if you click on the name of the brush.

    Face

    • Large Powder Brush – #134 $53 This brush is for application of powder.  It is a paddle-shaped brush with a fluffed rounded tip.  I generally use it for applying my BareMinerals powder foundation and all-over bronzer.
    • Powder/blush Brush – #129  $35 This brush is all-purpose brush for blush or face powder.  It works well for both blush and bronzer.
    • Duo Fibre Face Brush – #187 $42  I use this brush for blending and applying cream blushes.  It is generally used to create soft layers or add textures.  It’s a blend of goat and synthetic fibers.
    • Blush Brush – #116 $35 This brush is for shading and highlighting.  It’s somewhat redundant with #129 but allows for more precise application.
    • Shader Brush – #242 $25 This brush is listed under eye brushes but I like it for concealer. It is a flat brush made of synthetic fibre.  I tend to like the synthetic brushes for anything emollient.
    • Buffer Brush – #182 $53 This is a full dome-shaped brush of goat hair for blending powder and giving an immaculate polished finish.  I like to use this brush for finishing powder or for applying something like the BareMinerals Pure Radiance or Mineral Veil.
    • Foundation Brush – #190 $33 Synthetic brush for applying, distributing and blending liquid foundation.  I love the way this one feels on my face!  It makes me feel like one of the fur-covered seal-like species that evolves in Kurt Vonnegut’s Galapagos novel.  But I digress…
    • Small Duo Fibre Face Brush -#188 $35 This brush is for lightweight application and blending of any fluid cream, or powder.  I especially like to use it for applying liquid highlighter to the top of my cheekbones and just above my brows.
    • Duo Fibre Fan Brush – #184 $23  This brush is a blend of synthetic fibre and goat hair.  It gives a featherweight application and works to blend powders or as a tool to gently clear the skin of any excess product.  I also really like it to apply a very subtle shimmery powder on the top of my cheekbones.  It also works well for brushing off any fibres from other brushes that stick to your face.  That’s not reason enough to buy it, but an added bonus!
    • Large Angled Contour Brush – #168 $35 This brush works best for cheek contouring.  I usually use it to apply a little bit of bronzer under my cheekbones.  Use contouring to apply darker colors where you want a feature to recede.

    Eye

    • Eye Shader Brush – #239 $25 Soft and dense brush for shading with eye shadow.  I use this brush every day and it works well for building color if you want to make it intense.
    • Small Angle Brush – #263 $19 This brush is a firm, flat- shaped and angled brush for lining and shading.  It is made of synthetic fibre.  It makes a precise line and works especially well for dense application if it is spritzed with water or MAC’s Fix Plus.
    • Lash Brush – #204 $14 This brush can be used for grooming the eyebrows and separating the eyelashes.
    • Blending Brush – #217 $23 I love this brush for shading and blending.  Use it to add depth to contoured eyes or use it at the end of eyeshadow application for blending all colors together.
    • Pencil Brush – #219 $25  For precision shading and blending eyeliner.  It helps give a very nice smudged look and works great for doing sort of a sexy smoky eye.
    • Large Fluff Brush – #227 $31 Paddle-shaped dense brush for defining the eye with color.  This is the perfect brush for applying eye color in a quick all-over stroke.  I especially like to use it to apply a light color like MAC’s creme brulee or vanilla all over the eyelid.
    • Mini Shader Brush – #228 $20 This brush is round-tipped and firm and I really like it for applying a slight shimmer just under my eyebrows and around the tear duct to open the eyes up.

    I don’t usually use much in the way of lipstick brushes because I am more of a gloss kind of gal but I have had luck with MAC’s retractable lip brush when I have used it.  A great resource for trying make-up looks is the YouTube channel AllThatGlitters21.  She does a lot of good make-up tutorials and you can pretty easily accomplish a lot of the looks with just a couple of palettes.

    Happy make-up artistry!

     

     

     

     

  • Make your own body powder

    Kitchen Beautician: Make your own body powderYou can make your own body powder using very inexpensive ingredients that won’t irritate your lungs like talc can.  The best bases include arrowroot, white clay, rice flour or cornstarch.  For everyday use, I like to use a mixture of half a cup or cornstarch with half a cup of arrowroot (available at Whole Foods or somewhere similar).  Simply add 10-12 drops of your favorite essential oil and cover lightly and let stand 24 hours.  If you are going to be using the powder someplace where you want to absorb oil or odor (oily face, feet, or armpits- white clay or rice flour are slightly more absorbent).  Some ideas are listed below:Gym bag: Create a singular fragrance or a combination of peppermint, eucalyptus or an uplifting citrus scent (tangerine, lime, grapefruit, bergamot or some combination).  Try storing it in the Bare Escentuals travel case or something similar http://tinyurl.com/23xfztyIt’s nice to put on your skin after you’ve showered but are still warm from your workout or to put in your shoes after you remove them, or on your feet.Bedsheets: Add some of your favorite oils to a pretty glass jar and keep it by the bed to keep your sheets fresh and cool, especially during the summer months.  Cater your scent to whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish in your bed.  If you’ve been having trouble sleeping, try a very relaxing and comforting potion of lavender, chamomile, neroli and geranium or any of these fragrances by themselves.  If you are trying to spice up your love life, add jasmine, ylang ylang, patchouli, and rose.  Note to men: women come most alive when they are relaxed so use the relaxing and comforting oils in addition to the sensualizing oils.  Note to women: Men get most in the mood when they feel they are being cared for and pampered and cinnamon and vanilla usually reminds them of being spoiled and baked cookies when they were little so try that!Mothers: If you look at your baby powder, you’ll see the ingredients is simply cornstarch and fragrance, so if you run out, or want to save some money, try making your own.  Children tend to love tangerine scent and you can find this essential oil for only a few dollars.  It’s also a nice fragrance to add to the bath at the end of the day and has the aromatherapeutic property of being “cheering.”  What mother doesn’t appreciate that?!  Of course, calming lavender and chamomile are always good bets too.

    You can make your own body powder using very inexpensive ingredients that won’t irritate your lungs like talc can. The best bases include arrowroot, white clay, rice flour or cornstarch. For everyday use, I like to use a mixture of half a cup or cornstarch with half a cup of arrowroot (available at Whole Foods or somewhere similar). Simply add 10-12 drops of your favorite essential oil and cover lightly and let stand 24 hours. If you are going to be using the powder someplace where you want to absorb oil or odor (oily face, feet, or armpits- white clay or rice flour are slightly more absorbent). Some ideas are listed below:
    Read more