Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sheer Cover Review with Modern Mom

Modern Mom gave me the opportunity to try out and review a series of new products from Sheer Cover and it couldn't have come at a better time!  As I get older, my skin is looking worse and worse. It take a lot more makeup in the morning just to make me look normal. That being said, I don't like wearing a lot of makeup. I like to keep things simple. A few years ago, I tried using BareMinerals.  It was okay. The coverage was average but the biggest turnoff was the mess! So messy to put on and it always spilled in my makeup bag.  Sheer Cover is a similar product but I was interested to try it because I like the idea of mineral makeup.

These photos are pretty unforgiving but I wanted to be completely honest.  Here is me with no makeup in the artificial light of the bathroom.

I have some sagging and the bags under my eyes are horrible. The wrinkles on my forehead are the worst.  And I have freckles. LOTS OF THEM! Also, I haven't had a chance to get a brow wax this month so please excuse the unkept brows!

I started with the concealer and added it under my eyes. Then, I used the loose mineral foundation all over my face. I highlighted with their bronzer and added some brightener around my eyes.  I tried concealing the freckles on my forehead but all that happened was that the product sunk down into my wrinkles and made them more prominent.  I also used their mascara and lash extending fibers. I was so surprised when I opened the lash extending fibers. They are literally little fibers! It looked like a brush filled with lint!

Here I am with the Sheer Cover products on:

I think the dark circles under my eyes definitely look better. I did NOT like how the product emphasized my forehead wrinkles.  The foundation definitely dialed down the redness in my face which was nice.  My lashes also look nice although the product irritated my eyes a little bit.

Here is the final result with my Laura Mercier creme eyeshadow and Yves Saint Laurent lip stain:

As I said before, I like to keep it simple. I prefer a natural look rather than an overly made-up look and stick to classics rather than trends.  I loved the concealer and definitely think the lash extenders worked but I was not a fan of the foundation. It felt too heavy for me and settled into my wrinkles. Plus, I didn't think it was that great in terms of coverage.

I will experiment more with these products. I'll probably continue to use some but not others. 

If you would like the chance to win a year's supply of Sheer Cover Studio Mineral Foundation, go here to win!!!

(The Sheer Cover products in this review were provided by Modern Mom)

Friday, August 15, 2014

BACK TO SCHOOL: Kidecals Review
Once your child starts preschool, school, or even camp, you will be asked to label EVERYTHING!  A few years ago, when my son started preschool, I purchased some sticky labels from another company. They were little round circles with his name and a car graphic. Although they worked great, their size and shape made teachers overlook them. They would hand me my son's jackets and tell me to please write his name on them. When I pointed out the label, they were always surprised to see it.  I don't like writing names directly on articles of clothing because I always consign outgrown clothes.  With removable tag labels, you can just peel them off when you are done!

This school year, I decided that my 1st grader had outgrown the little circles with the car graphic. It was time for something new.  Luckily, Kidecals contact me right about that time!  It was so hard to decide which labels to pick!  They have labels for everything!!!  We have a lot of school friends with food allergies so I especially appreciate their section of allergy alert labels.  I knew that I wanted waterproof labels for Noodlebug so I headed over to that page and decided on some nice rectangular labels.  (provided courtesy of Kidecals)  I couldn't stop there, though! I have been working on reorganizing my workroom and decided I needed some chalkboard labels too! (purchased by me)

The labels came very quickly and I loved how the ones for my son came in two different sizes on one sheet.  This was important to me because I need different sizes for different things!

I immediately went to work adding the labels to a few jackets. The smaller size worked perfectly on clothing labels.

The larger labels were great for labeling the inside of bags like Noodlebug's Tae Kwon Do bag!

I like how durable the labels feel and easy they are to apply. Since they are waterproof, I will be able to wash the clothes without having to remove the labels.  This would also be great when labeling reusable food containers or water bottles.  I'm going to label everything!!!

I chose the everyday set for $28 which includes 78 labels in two sizes.  (c/o Kidecals) The chalkboard labels I chose run $10 a set for 12 labels. (paid for by me)  Kidecals always offers free shipping.

For a special 15% off discount, use code ilovelabels.

The perfect item for back to school!!!

(Kidecals provided me the opportunity to try the name labels for free. I purchased the chalkboard labels in addition)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

BACK TO SCHOOL: Backpack Charms

My son will be starting first grade next week. Last year, he was in a big Kindergarten class with three teachers. Now, all the kids will be split up among three classrooms. We don't know if any close friends will be in his new class.  The class lists don't go up until the night before school!  Plus, one of his closest friends is moving to another school.

Although my son is super-social and outgoing, I wanted to help him to reach out and make some new friends this year. I decided to make some quick backpack charms that he could give out to new friends.

 Materials needed:
1.5 inch wooden discs
Ball link keychains
Printed images
Mod Podge or other adhesive
Crop-a-dile II Big Bite (optional)
1.5 inch circle punch (optional)

I had some 1.5 inch wooden discs left over from another project. I bought them online at Amazon but you can find them at craft stores. 

First, I painted one side of the discs in one of the school's colors. This will be the back of the disc. While it was drying, I manipulated an image of one of my favorite children's book characters and printed out a sheet of the image repeated several times in the size I needed.  I used the circle punch to punch out the images. I ended up adding a little color with markers.  The downside of adding color and using a color ink jet printer is that the color ran a little when I mod-podged it on.  Once the paint on the wooden discs was dry, I used the Crop-a-dile to gently punch holes in the wooden discs.  I then mod-podged the paper circles onto the discs. On the colored side of the disc, I wrote the school name and the school year dates with a Sharpie.  I ended up putting the discs back through the Crop-a-dile to punch the hole through the paper. Finally, I added the ball chain keychain. I got a pack of 28 of them at Joann's.

While they aren't the most professional looking items I have ever done, I think they will be fun items for my son to trade at school. Maybe I'll make a new one each year!

(This post contains affiliate links)

Monday, August 4, 2014

Water Fun!

We are in a serious drought here in California so we don't do a lot of wasteful water play outside. To prepare for a day of water fun, I waited until we had a playdate with several kids and we didn't water our lawn for a week.

First I made a water blob. I made one last year using duct tape. It held up well but sprung a bunch of leaks.  And it was tricky to put together.  This time, I used this tutorial and ironed the edges shut. It worked well but I found that ironing the plastic really thinned it out.  The edges held but a hole appeared in the top almost immediately. Still, it did not detract from the fun. The boys loved it and it was perfect for the 2-yr-old.  Once the fun was finished, we let it drain out in our parched lawn.

I also made some splash balls. You will find dozens of splash ball tutorials online. I cut three sponges into quarters.  (cut sponge in half, cut each half in half)  Lay the three sponges on top of one another.  Tie a length of string around the center and pull tightly.  I wrapped the string around the whole thing once more and tied a knot. Although some people use zip ties, I did not like the idea of the sharp plastic. Regular string worked perfectly!  Fluff the sponges into a ball shape and you are finished.  The kids LOVED them!

I got the sponges in packs of 2 from the dollar store which made them even more affordable.

Next time, maybe I will try to make one of those cool PVC pipe sprinkler structures that I have seen on Pinterest!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Rivertown Revival 2014

We have a truly unique event in Petaluma called Rivertown Revival. This fundraiser for the David Yeardsley River Heritage Center is hard to describe.  To me, it often feels like a turn-of-the-last-century carnival side show mixed up with a classic tent revival.  It is filled with arts, music, oddities, shopping, amazing food, and many many people dressed in costume. You see people dressed as carnies, saloon girls, steampunk explorers, and more.  They even often $5 dollar weddings!  Plus, there are decorated watercraft to look at along the river. This year, one decorated barge on the river held a band. 

I have never missed the event even though it is always one of the hottest days of the year.  When I almost melted a few years back, I gave up wearing my steampunk attire. But I still love to dress up.

I especially love the wonderful decorations they come up with. Last year, they stuck golf clubs in buckets of plaster and strung ribbon between them to form stanchions between the ticket lines.  And look at this wonderful ribbon pole made from a bicycle wheel:

This year, I was determined to get our photos made in the photo booth. Michael Woolsey does an amazing job of capturing people.  I love paging through the photos and marveling at the diversity and beauty of the people who come to the event.   Plus, I get great costume ideas!

I thought about not posting the above photo because it reveals just how heavy I am. Then, I decided that life is too short. I probably won't get too many more photos where my little guy wants to snuggle up with me.  Many people told me he looks like a teenager in this photo:

If you happen to be in Petaluma in July, make sure you don't miss this wonderful and creative event!!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Wee Bit Warped: THE ZINE!!!

Remember when I went to ART IS YOU a few years ago and made this and this with Shelly Massey?  Shelly is so marvelously creative.  When I saw her whimsical work, I knew immediately she was a kindred spirit.  Plus, our children are the same age! 

I miss getting to take classes with Shelly at art retreats so I was thrilled when she announced her new venture!

Shelly has already planned out 12 exciting issues full of creative/crafty goodness and I love the themes she chose!  Subscribers get a little 'zine mailed to their homes along with treats in the mail, giveaway opportunities, digital freebies like collage sheets and more! You can buy individual issues for $13.50 but then you miss out on the digital area.  And who wants to miss that fun?!

The subscription is $12 per issue and goes through Paypal. If you order before July 31st, you will get a special edition of one of Shelly's art prints!

I already got my welcome packet!

Exciting! Shelly is so talented and such a sweet, generous person!  I am so happy for her. And I'm excited to be one of her first subscribers.


This is the perfect little gift for yourself or others who love creative inspiration sent to their mailbox every month!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Problem with Quarterly Subscription Service

I have enjoyed my subscription to the Nina Garcia Quarterly box that I immediately signed up for Rachel Yeomans' and Bekka Palmer's boxes when they were announced. When you join Quarterly,  you have the option to do a quarterly subscription when you will be automatically charged when the box ships or you can do a one-time box. I chose subscriptions for all of my boxes.

One of my problems with Quarterly is that you never really know when your box will ship and when you will be subsequently be charged. They are constantly changing shipping dates. For my past two boxes, there will glitches with the payment. Both times there should have been no problem for my payment to be declined but the payment failed. For Nina Garcia, they fixed it within 24 hours.  For my long-awaited Rachel Yeomans' box, I got this message today after repeated attempts to get a response from Quarterly:

"Thanks for contacting us and sorry for the delay in getting back to you! Unfortunately, there was a failure with our inventory system last week that we were not made aware of until too late. As a result, we sold packages that we didn't actually have in inventory and we are unable to send you a Rachel Yeoman box.

I'm so sorry about this! I know it's frustrating and I assure you we are equally frustrated about it. To make it up to you we've placed a $10 credit on your account."

So, even though I was one of the first to subscribe and even though the glitch was their fault and even though I am a subscriber and not a "one time only" box looky-loo, I will be getting this box. After months of talking it up in forums and on Twitter.

To avoid going through this again, I cancelled Bekka Palmer.  A $10 credit does nothing for me at this point.

Quarterly gets some great curators and I love the concept but the payment process and inventory screw-ups and delays are really ruining the service for me.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Nina Garcia Quarterly #ngq03 Unboxed!!! **SPOILERS**

I love getting surprises so I treat myself to a few subscription box services. One of my favorites is Quarterly!

Today, I got the much-anticipated Nina Garcia #ngq03!

One of the things I love about Quarterly are the detailed descriptions that come with the boxes!

(First peek!)
 Then you get the fun of unwrapping each item!!!

The theme of this box was "Brazil!"  It was very heavy on product.  Overall, I think I'll enjoy the items although some were misses for me.

Contents of box:

1. Coupon code for free Symmetry series Brazilian Pop! otterbox case for iPhone 5/5s or Galaxy S5
2. Black baseball cap from Spenglish with "Muito Cool" brazilian flag on front
3. Red flower refreshing hand and face towelette in Italian blood orange (one sample)
4. Pink High-heeled shoe desk ornament from Brazilian shoe designer MELISSA
5. Formula X from Sephora nail color in "Push the Limits"
6. Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Spray Sunscreen in SPF 30
7. Calvin Klein ONE Pure Color Lipstick in "Dollface"
8. NEST Scented Candle in "Sicilian Tangerine"
9. Surya Brasil Sapien Women Shavel Gel
10. JOICO K-Pak Intense Hydrator treatment for hair
11. ORIBE Dry texturtizing spray (2.2 oz)
12. ELLA earbuds
13. Palm Tree print clutch from PRINT ALL OVER ME (canvas)
14. Koku Pouch--bluie canvas with yellow raffia trim and a plexiglass shark (Not my favorite item)

I know others will price out each item and I will be interested to see the overall value of the box.  I'm excited to try everything out!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


I would love to see Deborah Harkness' books turned into a series of movies or a television series. But the casting would have to be JUST RIGHT.

I see just one choice for Diana:

I think Mireille Enos is so wonderful.  Her skill as an actress would keep the character from falling into kitsch territory.

Matthew is a lot harder:

1.  Henry Cavill---Has the look but does he have the gravitas?

2. Richard Armitage--Fan favorite but I'm not convinced.

3. Christian Bale--He can definitely handle the brooding/edgy aspects of the role but is he tall enough?

4.Benedict Cumberbatch!  Intriguing.

Now, what about Gallowglass?  My personal favorite.  He would have to be big but also charming.  Hmm....

Yep. Tom Hopper. I can totally see it!

The last book in the ALL SOULS TRILOGY comes out on July 15.  These books are begging to made into movies or a television series!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Starry Lanterns

I took another class at B Street Mercantile last week. My life has gotten so crazy that the only time I have to be creative is to take a class.  We made lanterns in this class and I am already buzzing with ideas for future ones!

What You Need:

Mason jar with lid
Paint (gold leaf or glass paint or spray paint)
Nail and hammer
Painter's tape

The instructor had already prepared the mason jars for us.  She took off the lid and punched a hole on either side of the lid using a hammer and nail. She then strung wire through the lid rim and screwed it onto the jar.

I decided to use a gold leaf paint on my jar.

I used foam star stickers on my jar. In the future, I would not use foam. Because they are so fat and do not lay flat, it is easy to accidentally get paint under the edges. I wrapped painter's tape around the top of the jar so I could get a nice clean painted edge.

The gold leaf spread on very nicely and didn't require a lot of paint. We used sponge brushes to dab on the paint.  I let the paint dry a little bit and then carefully peeled off the star stickers using an X-acto knife.

The edges of my stars weren't as sharp as I would like. In the future, I will use regular flat stickers.  I already have big ideas for the future. I'd love to do snowflake stickers with silver paint and maybe jack 'o' lantern faces with orange paint for Halloween. I'd love to experiment with spray paint for faster and more even coverage. 

Drop in a tealight, candle, or battery-operated candle and you have an adorable lantern!