Lately, my favorite outfit has been, shall we say, utilitarian:
I must admit, it’s refreshing to throw on the same exact clothes day after day (though I ought to wash them more in between!). No thought required, and I can get as dirty as I wanna. Sort of like being 7 again. My excuse? I’ve got RENOVATION FEVER!
My husband and I renovated our house when we bought it almost 11 years ago, but we barely touched the backyard. Dominated by a giant shed (which had many, many shelves and cubbies and built-ins–I think someone lived back there in the 1970s, yikes), the entire ground is covered in concrete with a bizarre mound in the center. (My neighbor swears it’s Jimmy Hoffa under there.) Occasionally I’d plant a couple of herbs in pots or a raised bed, or we’d add a sandbox for the kids, but it’s never been a nice place to hang out.
But this February, my very-handy uncle and creative aunt came to visit, and in one fell swoop, most of the sheds have been removed. We kept the overhang for shade, and my aunt grabbed some of our old paints and proved what a little color could do! As far as the concrete, my uncle suggested staining the part that is in good shape, and it looks amazing.
Since then, I’ve painted the back walls, the ceilings, stained the concrete floor, and hung lights. My kids and I painted murals, created a chalkboard, built bamboo frames for sidewalk-scored tropical pictures, and planted lots and lots of plants. Every day, I love to go back there and find some other little addition I/we can do. And I’m doing it all on the cheap, using leftover paint and materials as much as possible.
Of course, some things go really well (staining a brick pattern onto the concrete!) and others do not (lovingly restored sidewalk-scored chair fell apart after I sat on it). There’s also a small swamp in the back corner each time it rains–and apparently, drilling drainage holes in concrete is more difficult than it sounds.
But I’m continuing on, and discovering new skills all the time. I’ve always wanted a Tiki room, and so we’re going for it! I found lots of inspiration online, and I’m decorating with a tropical, retro flavor in mind. Doesn’t that sound like fun?!
I’m going to chronicle some of my adventures in a new section on this blog. I’ve found so much inspiration and advice online, I’d like to share my resources and experiences. I’ll take pictures of these projects as I’m working on them:
- Building a Tiki Bar out of reclaimed materials!
- Staining concrete, including an easy brick pattern!
- Making easy bamboo frames!
- Growing veggies in buckets!
- Creating your own chalkboard paint in any color you like!
And these that I have in mind:
- Build a rustic outdoor table!
- Create a living screen out of old wood pallets!
- Make bamboo wind chimes!
- Hang gutters!
- Build a rain barrel!
- Build a compost barrel!
- Spraypainting plastic chairs!
I’ve got my work cut out for me. Come on by and see what’s up!
I keep most of this stuff in a special (sparkly) makeup bag. The items with a * are things I use every day. You can get as crazy or keep it as simple as you like–a lot of my products (especially the pricey ones) are hand-me-downs, things friends or family members didn’t want. And of course adjust colors to your skintone. I’m pale, so these work for me!
- Eyeshadow primer (I use L’oreal De-Crease.)
- Eyeshadow: white (Sephora’s Aspen Summit), pale (Clinique Colour Surge in Pink Slate), natural contour color (Maybelline Chic Naturals Browntones–the darker shade), and/or bright color (pink from Rimmel Sweet Smoulder Quad or L’Oreal Hip Studio in Flare), and very dark brown (Clinique Coffee Shop)
- Eyeshadow brushes: a fluffy one, an angled contour, and an eyeliner (Walmart, Target, and Kmart carry inexpensive brands)
- A playing card or other stiff card
- Eyeliner: white pencil (Prestige Kohl Eyeliner from Walmart), black liquid or marker (I use Physician’s Formula Eye Definer Felt Tip Eye Marker, which stays on really well without smudging, but can be a pain to apply smoothly.)
- Waterproof mascara (*Clinique Lash Power)
- Brow pencil or powder (*Smashbox Brow Tech)
- Glitter glue (Too Faced Shadow Insurance Glitter Glue) and cosmetic glitter (Sinful Colors at Walgreen’s had a great silver)
- Face primer (Philosophy’s The Present)
- Undereye concealer (*Lancome Effacernes Waterproof in light buff)
- Blemish concealer
- Foundation or BB cream (*Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream)
- Sunscreen, if needed (*Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer Liquid daily sunblock dries matte and invisible.)
- Bright blush (Lancome Blush Subtil in Rose Fresque)
- Highlighter (Benefit’s High Beam)
- Lipstick (L’Oreal’s Infallible Le Rouge in Fearless Fuschia)
- More glitter (Hard Candy’s Walk the Line liquid eyeliner in glittery fuschia)
- False eyelashes and Duo Eyelash Adhesive in clear-white
- Q-Tip cosmetic swabs (the pointy ones)
Now you’re ready to get started! Go get glam!
But first, what are your favorite products? Inquiring minds want to know!
Not me, the makeup! Sheesh.
Who doesn’t love to play with makeup? OK, lots of us. But if you like to get glammed up with color and glitter and eyelashes–but without spending a ton of money or time on it–this post is for you!
I am a Pussyfooter, which means I get dolled up like a showgirl on lots of occasions–sometimes at 8 or 9 in the morning! And my makeup needs to last for hours, while dancing in the rain, sweating in the hot sun, on a stage, in a crowd, and down the streets of New Orleans for 7 or more miles. And I’ll tell ya, this particular combination works. Even after hours of sweating and being rained on, I still look pretty darn good at parade’s end.
Now, I am not a makeup artist, nor do I receive any kickbacks from any of the products I’ll mention below. This is all stuff I bought myself for my own use. I’ve studied lots of YouTube videos for eye makeup application, and I’m a fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race–plus I did a little bit of theater when I was a young’un, so that’s where I got these tips. Once I did this process a few times, I got quick–I’d say it takes maybe 15 minutes to put on my face, including fake lashes. (I’ll do a separate post about those!)
But enough chatter, let’s put on some makeup!
First, start with a clean, washed face. Don’t put anything on it, though–no lotion or sunscreen. Not yet. We’re going to start with the eyes, and if powder or glitter falls on your face, it’ll be easier to clean it up (without messing up the rest of your makeup) if your skin is clean.
Apply eyeshadow primer all over your eyelid, up to the brow and around the inner corner of your eye, blending it lightly with your fingertip.
Using a soft eyeshadow brush, put on a pale shade all over your lid, up to your browbone. Next, apply a pearly white eyeshadow to just the inner corners, all around the tear duct and in the hollow on the side of your nose. This is going to help open up your eyes. Blend it a bit.
Now grab an angled crease brush and a straight edge, like a credit card or playing card. Angle the card to form a line from the outer corner of your eye to the outer corner of your eyebrow. This will give your eye makeup a clean edge.
Using your brush and a dark contour color, make a sideways-V shape, following the edge of the card up to slightly above your crease, then sweeping in your crease toward the inside of your eye. Go back and forth a couple times to get it good and dark.
If you want to keep a natural-toned eye, stop there. But if you want to add a bright color, do the same thing, going right over the brown tone with a bright. You can also skip the brown and use just the bright color. If I’m wearing pink, I do it over the brown for extra definition. If I’m wearing orange, I do the orange by itself. Either way, if you wet the brush before dipping into the shadow, your color will go on darker.
Let it dry a bit, then use your fluffy eyeshadow brush to blend lightly. I like the defined crease look, so I don’t blend much.
Use a white eyeliner pencil to line your inner lower rims (waterlines). This really opens your eyes! Extend the white line past the outer corner of your eye, following the line of your card/eyeshadow, for about a quarter-inch.
Now line the top lid with black liquid liner or a marker. I pull my eyelid taut, start from almost the middle, and line in one solid motion to the outer edge. A single line means a smoother line, but it’s not easy! Then I go back to the middle and do a lighter line toward my nose, then get out the card and draw a cat-eye flick above the white line extending about a half inch. Go back and fill in as necessary. Q-Tips make a pointed cotton swab that is very helpful for erasing mistakes–dip the end in water or a water-based makeup remover, because oil-based will make everything slide around!
Time to fill in your brows. I use brow powder and wax every day, so I just use a lot more when I’m getting fancy. Set that powder with lots of wax for staying power. Or use pencils, which are already waxy.
Curl your lashes and apply waterproof mascara. If you’re doing false lashes, a single coat is plenty; if not, layer it up!
Do you want to sparkle? You know you do. Glitter glue keeps glitter in place, and it works GREAT. Squeeze a bit on the back of your hand, dip a flat brush into the glue, and dab it onto your eyelid. Hold a tissue under your eye to catch any glitter fallout, then dip that brush in loose glitter designed for wearing on the face/near eyes and dab on over the glue. Pretty!
Wipe up any glitter or powder that fell below your eyes with a damp washcloth. You’re ready to put on the rest of your face.
Spread a thin coat of face primer all over your face, including under your eyes. Mine needs to set for two minutes, so I brush teeth and floss or go put on Spanx while I wait.
Back to the mirror. Apply your usual undereye concealer. I love, love, love Lancome Effacernes Waterproof in light buff. It is light, creamy, does not settle into lines, and is waterproof! It’s also expensive. But I use it every day.
Now we can finish the eyes. Using a tiny eyeliner brush, which has been dabbed in water, and a very dark eyeshadow, trace under your lower lashes, starting from the outside corner moving toward the inside corner. Extend that outer corner mirroring the upper black cat-eye flick, but stay along the bottom of the white line and extend only a quarter inch.
Touch up the white line in the middle of the two darker flicks if need be. Apply your waterproof mascara to lower lashes.
If you’ll be outside, now is a good time to apply sunscreen. Then apply your usual foundation or BB Cream. Apply blemish concealer. Around my nose, I add Benefit’s Pore-fessional, which erases large pores without caking up like a powder.
Grab your bright blush and go to town on your cheeks, focusing on the apples and swooping up toward the temples. A good thing about being over 40 is that our bone structure becomes more prominent: play up those cheekbones! And if you’ll be wearing a colored wig, put on more blush than you think you need.
To further accentuate bone structure, use a cream or powder highlighter (even a pearly eyeshadow will work) and dot & blend along the tops of cheekbones, on the browbone, along the bridge of the nose, and on the Cupid’s Bow above your lip. Now you glow!
For lipstick, my hands-down favorite has been L’Oreal’s Infallible Le Rouge in Fearless Fuschia. It lasts for hours (sometimes even after washing my face), does not feel dry or sticky, and doesn’t move (or give creepy lip-outlines). Ah. Maze. Ing.
I top it with Hard Candy’s Walk the Line liquid eyeliner in glittery fuschia–I hate this stuff as an eyeliner, but it is awesome as a lip glitter.
You look fabulous, darling! One more thing: apply those falsies. Lashes. I mean lashes. I’ll do a separate post about applying false eyelashes, but I will say that getting a good quality lash (avoid the cheap multi-packs) makes a world of difference in comfort, and I only use Duo Eyelash Adhesive in clear-white (drugstores carry it). My lashes stay on until I want them off.
There! You are all glammed up and ready to face the world. And no matter what the world has in store for you, you will look gorgeous through it all.
Now you tell me, what are your favorite glamorous and/or long-lasting makeup tricks? Any products you love or hate? Dish!
The last several months have been wild, and the craziness is not over yet. I am a new member of the Pussyfooters, an all-female New Orleans marching/dance group that performs in Mardi Gras parades, at local festivals, and for charity events. And the experience has been AMAZING.
It’s Carnival now–Mardi Gras is less than a week away–and I’ve participated in 3 parades already. We perform choreographed dances between the floats along the entire parade route, about 7 to 10 miles. Wearing corsets. And feather eyelashes.
I had forgotten how much I like to dance and to perform (some call it showing off). Yet members do not audition and come in all levels of experience and ability, shapes and sizes, colors and creeds. The Pussyfooters celebrate what makes each of us unique, and the pure joy of dance and creative expression. The only requirement: to be over 30 (there are lots of groups for younger women; not so many for we mature ladies) and I am excited to say our ages range widely too; many of us are considerably over 30, and honey, we’ve still got it. We dance because we love to, and on behalf of women and girls who may not be able to. Like I said, amazing.
Pussyfooters have inspired my creativity these past few months, and I’ve been sewing, glueing, glittering, and generally having a great time. I plan to have a few posts showcasing some of the Pussyfooter-related projects I’ve created over the past few months, plus reviews of beauty products I’ve tried–which ones last through rain, sweat, tears, and still look like this:
Some topics to look forward to (I’m such a tease!):
A thrifted sweater transformation
My basic costume formula for fabulousness, no matter what you wanna be
The perfect lipstick
Tips and tricks to wearing false eyelashes
Reviews of primers and surfacing (not house paint, face paint, though you want it to last nearly as long)
Wig tips and care
Eye makeup for stage (when the world–or the street–is your stage)
Peeing on a moving vehicle 101
I am still new and absorbing as much as I can from my more experienced sisters (who are welcome to offer their advice and input!). Now that I’ve been through a few events and parades, I have my own hits and misses, and I look forward to sharing them here.
How pretty is this dress? I’m kinda obsessed with it. AND it’s on sale. AND Lands’ End offers an additional 40% off through tomorrow…
It’s so…elegant. Sexy but understated. Classic but with a bit of edge (LOVE that exposed zipper!). I think it would be flattering to wear (with a different belt). I can imagine lots of different places to wear it…to the Theatre…to Emeril’s…for cocktails downtown after work with clients…
…except I don’t do any of those things. That is just not my life right now. And it makes me wonder, what is it about this fantasy life that is so compelling? Cuz truth be told, I have WAY too many clothes that would be perfect for any one of those places, but that hardly get worn, because I don’t GO to those places.
I’m a stay-at-home mom who freelances occasionally from a cafe (but usually from home), I attend PTA meetings and teacher conferences, hang out at the playground, the children’s library, the zoo. “Smart casual” pretty much sums it up (and sometimes stupid casual, as a friend of mine quipped). Jeans, cute tees, vintage sweaters or sweatshirt blazers. A rayon dress or skirt here and there–but it has to be washable. Flats, sandals, or tennies. Everything else gathers dust.
I suppose I envy a more glamorous life. Sure I go out with the girls sometimes, or have date night with my hubby. We have even attended the Theatre. Once upon a time, when I lived and worked in San Francisco, there was a lot more of that work/cocktails/events going on, though at that time I was all about studied casualness (didn’t want to look too fancy, now did I?). Yet I’ve always been, at heart, a fancy girl. Thus my oversized wardrobe for the life I don’t lead.
Does anyone else have a similar tendency to fall for clothes that don’t actually fit your lifestyle? That then just sit in the closet, waiting for you to become more fabulous? Or is it just me…
I am on a mission: to find the perfect BB cream for my complexion. I’m intrigued by the promises the BB creams offer: they are tinted moisturizer, primer, corrector, sunscreen, and powder in one product. Yes, please!
But…I haven’t found my perfect potion yet. I don’t want a lot of coverage–I prefer a natural look–but I have oily skin, big pores, and run around outside a lot, where it’s usually humid and often hot. The problems I seem to encounter are that the creams I’ve tried don’t give me as matte a look as I’d like.
Here’s a rundown of a few that I’ve tried.
Clinique BB Cream: I’ve been using this for several months, and at first I liked it a lot. But I feel like it doesn’t cover my pores or keep me from getting shiny. It’s also hard to smooth on at first–it dries really fast–without getting streaks. It goes on much better over sunscreen or moisturizer, but then I’m back to using multiple products and looking greasy. Thus my quest continues. This comes in three shades, all quite pale–the middle one works best for me, but anyone with dark skin would be out of luck.
L’Oreal Magic BB Cream: I’ve tried this in magazine samples, so I’m not sure how accurate that is. I like how it feels going on, but the Light definitely turns me orangey. There’s a shade paler that might work for me. It’s also weird that it goes on completely sheer and then changes color–makes it hard to know where I need to blend more. And it does not have any sunscreen. So, overall, eh.
Aveeno Positively Radiant Tinted Moisturizer: This isn’t exactly a BB Cream, but it has many of the elements I’m looking for: a light tint, a bit of moisture, and sunscreen. The Light shade works well on me and the price is right, but it left me feeling too shiny–it actually has little glimmery particles in it to give a bit of shimmer. Very subtle, but on me just looks sweaty.
Dr. Jart+Premium Beauty Balm: My sis-in-law looks amazing in this stuff, and she generously let me borrow her bottle for a couple days so I could try this stuff out. It does feel amazing on, and has a high SPF with physical blockers, which I think last longer than chemical blockers. Though it did smooth my complexion, I still felt too greasy with it on; the “dewy” look just does not work for me. She said they do have an oily-skin version, so maybe I’ll check that out at Sephora or someplace I can return it if I don’t like it. A downside: it comes in only one shade, which works for my pale skin, but would probably not work if you had tan, olive, or dark skin.
Now, I’d prefer to spend less on my products, but I’ve come to realize that sometimes the good stuff is expensive for a reason: it just works better. I’ve been curious about the new BB Creams from Maybelline and Garnier, but have checked out reviews of them, and they don’t seem to please most women who’ve tried them.
Update: Garnier Skin Renew BB Cream: A friend let me borrow hers, and it really has nice coverage without looking makeup-y. She has sensitive “problem” skin and said that she likes this with Bare Minerals powder over it. And she looks good! I tried it and still felt oily/greasy, even right after application, though the color was nice. Maybe it’s just too moisturizing for me? Also, it has such a low SPF (15). The quest continues!
So, I’m open to suggestions. Do you have a BB Cream or other light foundation that you love and would recommend? Or is my quest for a single product to rule them all doomed to fail?