Summer Essentials: Etsy Fashion Edition

So I’ve decided to make a series of posts, entitled “Summer Essentials,” which will include some of my favorites ranging from fashion to beauty to skin care and all sort of inbetweeners.  So to kick off the series, I’ve decided to start with my Etsy Fashion Edition. These are going to be some of my picks for the hottest summer trends this year, which will keep you looking fresh and beautiful, as well as staying out of the same Target bikini everyone else is wearing. So let’s start it off with a couple items you can’t skip past this summer (the full list is available on Etsy, just click HERE). As always, click through the images to link over to where you can buy them!

The first thing anyone thinks of when summer comes to mind is: bikini season. Every is busting their butts trying to get in shape to fit into that hot swimsuit. Personally, I’m a huge fan of the bold print trend that is currently going on and this bottom from PeaceOfParadise is killing it! In the good way of course!

If you’re not into bold prints, or maybe you just want a little something more demure, these high waisted bottoms from TheJoiofSummer are fabulous.

We’ve also picked out a few items because it’s not just about what’s on your body, you gotta rock the look from head to toe, so here’s how we would do it.

And we don’t think any look is complete without a little bit of protection. Here’s sunblock bars from Wunderbars

Head on over to Etsy, to view our full Summer Essentials list and see what other items we’ve picked out for you. Trust us, you don’t want to miss it!

-Mel

Summer Review: Coral Nails

As I mentioned in my June Birchbox Review, I am absolutely in love with coral nail polishes this season. It’s a super bright and happy color that really just makes you look super tan. It’s really flattering, and I honestly can’t say anything negative about it right now. So as promised in my previous post, here’s a review of three different nail polish brands, each in similar shades of coral: Sally Hansen Insta-Dri in #460 Snappy Sorbet, Ruby Wing in Peony, and Color Club in Reign in Spain. I will be reviewing these different brands not based off of color (all are very similar) but based of of their formulas, pigmentation, and the ease of brush use.

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First up, is Sally Hansen’s brush. I will admit a few years ago when polishes starting coming with the flat wide brishes, I hated them. I was also a lot younger and hadn’t really practiced doing my nails much. As I’ve gotten older, this is my all time favorite brush. The flat head coats the entire nail (or almost all of it) in one sweep and the slightly curved shape allows you to shape around the base of the nail and get a professional looking job done, versus that uneven edge with smaller brushes. The wide brush also allows you to smooth out the color easily leaving no weird overlapping layers, which makes even just one coat of polish when you’re in a hurry look good.

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Sally Hansen

Ruby Wing and Color Club have essentially the same round brush, which does the job, but takes a steadier hand to make a professional looking edge as well as it’s pretty hard to get an even first coat, so you’ll need at least 2 to make your color look decent.

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Color Club

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Ruby Wing

Now onto formulas. Sally Hansen definitely has the thickest polish which helps in its ease to apply. If you have slightly too much on the brush, it won’t slip and slide all over your nail. Color Club is almost as thick which did make it easier to apply with the smaller brush but Sally still has the upperhand. Ruby Wing is a very water consistency, so much so that barely any polish clings to the brush when you pull it out of the bottle.

First coats

First coats

As for pigmentation and number of coats to achieve a good color, Sally Hansen only took one coat to achieve a nice even color. Color Club came in second place with two coats and Ruby Wing is last. After 3 coats, I can still see through to my natural nail. I will say however that I do still love the Ruby Wing because it is a color changing polish, therefore I excuse it’s flaws, but I would defiitely recommend using a similar colored polish as a basecoat under it. It’s way too many coats in my opinion.

Final Coats

Final Coats

So that’s my little review. Let me know what other brands of polish you guys have been using recently and what you think about them, or just drop a comment with your favorite summer color!

Love Mel

June Birchbox Review

Hi Everyone! So I wanted to share with everyone my love of the company Birchbox. For those of you who don’t know of them, they are a monthly subscription to different beauty samples.  You can sign up on their website, and every month they send you a cute little box (no seriously, the packaging is adorable) filled with different samples of some amazing beauty brands, ranging from fragrances, to makeup, to hair products and all the way to samples of macaroons. Yeah. They sent me macaroons once. Exactly. It’s a great way to try out new products without breaking the bank, and if you’re no beauty guru, it’s a great way to start a foundation for a beauty regime.

So I figured I would share what I received in my box this month, Birchbox’s description and my opinions on each of these products. So Let’s get started!

First up is Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk Full size: $18

“Made with softening oat milk extracts, plus corn and rice starches, this ultra-fine powder spray leaves nary a trace of residue behind. It performs a heroic array of functions. For starters, it soaks up oil and sweat from your roots and helps revive second day hair. Next, it amps up volume and helps extend the life of blowouts. You can also use it as a texturizing aide when you’re trying to perfect a tricky updo. We love taking it with us to the gym for a post-workout hair refresher, and it’s great for times when we’re on the road.”

Alright, so I am a fan of dry shampoos in general. As someone whose hair does get oily, and I don’t like washing it too often, dry shampoos are my hero. Now I’m used to dry shampoos which leave enough residue that you get that super texturized volume to your hair, and for someone who does vintage styles, that’s always been a plus for me. Klorane’s product does a great job soaking up excess oils and leaving my hair looking great, but it’s so residue free that I don’t feel my baby fine hair as having any texture. I would recommend this to any girls with already textured, but oily hair. For me though, I’m gonna stick to my old dry shampoo when I need to style, but definitely use this on those sleek hair days.

Next up:

Mirenesse Glossy Kiss Full size: $26.55

“A cross between a lip stain and hydrating balm, each wax-based hue glides on smoothly and stays true for hours. Made without harmful parabens or drying alcohol, the gentle formula relies on healing glycerin to boost moisture and keep lips soft. The wearable shades include Flirty Kiss, a true red; Quick Kiss, a daring orange; Cheeky Kiss, a beige-toned pink; and Perfect Kiss, a soft coral with subtle shimmer.”

My sample came in the color “Perfect Kiss” and while I loved the color and adored the silkyness of the product when I first swatched it on my hand, it quickly became a mess in it’s packaging. Being a little clumsy opening it, I smashed the lid onto the tip, breaking the whole tip off sending it flying into my carpet…where it ended up staining. Sad face. Unable to use it as intended anymore, I had to apply it with my fingers which worked fine and I did like the product as a lip color, but as a cheek stain (oh yeah! It’s also a cheek stain), it’s very hard to blend smoothly and it kind of gave me clown cheeks. Eeeek! So I’ll stick to my other blush (which is from May’s Birchbox! Haha!).

Color Club Wanderlust Collection (Reign in Spain) Full Size: $8

“Each color is named after one of Birchbox’s international headquarters: Barcelona, London, New York, and Paris. London Calling, a sunny green, makes us think of the city’s myriad green spaces, while the fiery coral of Reign in Spain evokes summer days under the Mediterranean sun. Pardon My French’s lavender represents our love affair with the candy-colored arrays of macaroons in the City of Light’s iconic bakeries. Finally, there’s Mod in Manhattan, a brilliant off-white that represents the glow of the mega-watt city at night.”

I absolutely 100% think that coral is my favorite color this summer. Last year it was mint green, but I’ve suddenly been increasing my nail polish collection with a ton of corals this year. Now that said, I have a ton of similar polishes to compare Color Club’s color to, and I will do a more in depth review of this polish later, but I can tell you from my first try with it, I wasn’t too impressed with the product, especially since it costs so much and I’ve purchased better formulas for a lot less. Expect from me soon a comparison of a couple different coral shades and my opinions on all of them!

Twistband (Nautical Hair Tie Collection) Full set: $14

“Each twistband™ is made of soft elastic that keeps braids, buns, and ponytails secured. Because they’re thicker than regular hair ties, they don’t leave crimps in hair.”

I think these are adorable. Definitely not for wearing to a business meeting, but the idea behind Twistbands not leaving crimps in your hair is great, especially for someone like me who goes between up and down hair all day at work. Makes it less embarassing to take my hair out when I don’t have that infamous head kink going on.

Oscar de la Renta Something Blue Full Size: $85

“Inspired by the iconic designer’s silk and lace wedding gowns, this refined blend opens with sparkling notes of mandarin and linden blossom, then mellows into a sultry body of bourbon vanilla and white musk notes.”

I saved this for last because it’s my favorite. Honestly. I can’t get over how amazing this smells and I seriously think this might be my new signature scent (sorry Viva la Juicy). I can’t even describe how good this smells. I just can’t. I don’t have words for it.

And that’s my June Birchbox! I really recommend everyone getting signed up with them, especially since you can earn points each month and each purchase you make which eventually add up to free money! You can’t beat that!

-Mel

PS They also make a men’s subscription!

Lovely Things #19

Heyyy! I’m back with another wonderful edition of my weekly (hey, cut me some slack here) internet dump. All the things I love, want, need, and feel like you should too. That’s why I’m sharing with you!

1) Chiffon Dot Skirt from Luulla

I am a firm believer that polka dots are one of those timeless patterns that we will never tire of. They are just cute and feminine and can spice up a boring outfit effortlessy. These skirts from Luulla are super adorable and when I saw that they were only $10.99? Holy guacamole! That’s amazing! I want one in every color!

2) How To Build A Terrarium by Yumi Sakagawa

No shame in saying this little drawing tutorial is adorable and perhaps makes me want to make my own terrarium. Maybe I can manage to keep that alive? Could this be the secret to the green thumb I’ve always wanted???

3) 25 Life Hacks for Your Tiny Closet by Buzzfeed

Literally, the best organizational tips you can find. I am going to get my closet in tip top shape this year!!!! And this is going to help me! Really useful for any girls (or guys) who seem to be having their closet vomit everywhere anytime you open it. Seriously brilliant.

4) Oh, so that’s what my body is telling me…

Yup, I guess I need to get on this. I’m lacking in some areas I didn’t even know about!

I hope everyone has a great weekend! Let me know what you’re finding on the internet and maybe I’ll post it next LT!

-Mel

Ear Stretching: What I’ve Learned So Far/How-To Basics (Part One)

Hi all! So I think some of my favorite posts to do on this blog are the ones involving my piercings. I’m really passionate about piercings, and anyone who knows me in real life know that I am more than ready to jump into a full on conversation about my piercings, what it was like getting them and healing them and any other questions anyone might have! But my favorite piercings to talk about are definitely my lobes-my stretched lobes!

So today I’m gonna talk about my journey from never wearing earrings in my lobes, to have 2G (6mm) stretched lobes and what I’ve learned about stretching and properly taking care of your ears!

I had my ears pierced when I was nine, and it was a pretty traumatic ordeal for my ears. I had them pierced with a gun, which I do not recommend (I’ll get into my personal reasons later), and for some reason, they refused to heal for the longest time, and while at the time I didn’t know much about piercings and healing processes, I’m pretty sure my ears began to grow into the jewelry, causing tearing whenever I tried to change my earrings.It took over a year for me to actually begin to feel no pain whenever I changed my jewelry, but I was still scared of how much it might hurt, so I hardly touched them. And after a few years, once they were completely healed, I stopped wearing earrings altogether.

So about the time I started college, I got really interested in not only tattoos, but body modifications in general. I loved the way plugs looked, but I was scared to stretch.

After years of debating it and deciding that small earrings just didn’t look right in my lobes, and only larger earrings did, I figured I would begin to stretch, so I ordered a set of tapers 14G through 8G and two pairs of plugs, 10G and 8G. And here is where I will teach you how to stretch from my own trial and error.

Don’t skip sizes. I hadn’t been wearing earrings for years, so I really should have started stretching at a 16G or even an 18G, but I started with the 14G. My first attempt to stretch was the night I got my tapers in the mail, but before I could get any sort of lubrication for them. But let’s slow down, and back up a little bit before lubes.

How to clean and disinfect your jewelry before you stretch and what types of jewelry are safe to stretch with:

There are all sorts of different jewelry out there for stretched ears. You have various metals, glass, acrylic, wood, bone, horn, sylicone, etc. Of all the types there are, I am going to tell you two that are ok to stretch with. You can go against my word, I am no expert and stretching is about you and YOUR body, but this is my advice from MY OWN experience.

Stainless Steel Tapers with O-rings

Stainless steel. And glass. These two are your safest bet for stretching your ears and while they are not necessarily the cheapest, they will prevent any complications that could arise when you stretch. And if you are looking to save money on them, there are tons of places you can go online to buy taper sets made of these materials, for CHEAP. I spent maybe $20 total on stainless steel tapers and plugs for sizes 14G through 0G (I’ll link to some kits at the end of the post).

Here’s why you should choose steel or glass to stretch: Stainless steel and glass are both non-porous materials. In simpler terms, there are NO microscopic holes in the jewelry. You’re thinking, ok, why is this important? When you stretch your ears, you are creating tiny micro tears in your skin, these tears are opens wounds. Now you probably know that when you have a wound on your body, your body heals over it and makes NEW skin. Well if your body starts creating new skin and you have a plug in your ear with microscopic holes in it, your skin will start to grow into those holes. This can be bad! Very bad! There are horror stories of people whose ears have grown into their jewelry and have to have their jewelry surgically removed, which is not only painful, but expensive. Now does the extra few dollars for non porous plugs seems worth it?

[Also, a lot of stores in the mall and such will sell acrylic tapers individually, but they are actually more expensive this way, and will cost you hundreds of dollars if you choose to stretch this way]

Glass Spiral Tapers

Now onto cleaning your jewelry. Your first inclination is to probably grab a bottle of rubbing alcohol to wipe down your new jewelry with. Don’t. This will probably be your inclination for any cleaning regarding your ears, but avoid that. To properly clean your jewelry, and your ears, grab a cup full of warm (about the temperature of a nice hot shower) and add 1/8 teaspoon sea salt to it and mix. Make sure your sea salt is NOT iodized. You can get a big container of sea salt from your grocer for a few dollars and it will last you FOREVER. I’ve started using mine for cooking, cleaning all my piercings as well as my stretches and I’ve yet to make a real dent in it.

BEFORE YOU BEGIN TOUCHING YOUR JEWELRY OR EARS MAKE SURE YOUR HANDS ARE SUPER CLEAN!

Let your jewelry soak in your warm salt water for a few minutes while you begin to prep your ears to stretch.

A lot of people suggest taking a hot shower beforehand to help soften up your lobes, but I find if my ears are ready for the stretch then this step is unnecessary. Take a qtip or a cotton ball and dip it into your same salt water and clean around your lobes with it, letting the warm water soften them up a bit.

Now on to lubes. Don’t go grab a bottle of lotion, or a tube of antibiotic cream. These are just greasy and nasty for your ears and will cause complications. You want a natural oil which has a similar composition to the oils in your body. Don’t just grab olive oil from the pantry. That will mess your ears up as well! I’m talking Jojoba oil or Vitamin E oil. Jojoba is pretty expensive and is not available at your drugstore for the most part, but Vitamin E oil is easy to come by and not too expensive. I spent $8 on a bottle, which at the time I thought was super expensive, but like my salt, I’ve hardly made a dent in it. It’s going to last me years.

Take just a drop of whatever oil you choose to use and spread it between your index finger and thumb and begin to massage it into your ear lobes. Once you think your ears are sufficiently lubed up, take your tapers out of the water solution and rub a drop or two of oil and run it along the taper, making sure the smaller end is nicely covered. Gently and slowly begin to insert the taper into your lobe (make sure your piercing has healed completely, wait at least 6 months to a year after getting them pierced to actually stretch them). I like to put two fingers on the back side of my ear to support it during the stretch. Slowly push the taper through. If it hurts, you’re not ready to stretch or you need to start at a smaller size. You should feel a slight stinging/burning sensation, and that will subside after a few minutes or so. It should not hurt though.

If you have a plug in the corresponding size, line it up with your taper and push to follow it through into your ear. Do not wear tapers as jewelry. The heavy weight on the one end will cause your ear to stretch unevenly. I wore tapers as jewelry at 14G and 12G but switched to wearing plugs only at 10G. The tapers at the first two sizes are pretty light, so it’s ok then, but they start weighing too much at 10G.

Pop your O-rings onto your jewelry and you’re good to go. FOR NOW. In four days, the newly stretched skin will start to relax and adjust to its new size and you should take your jewelry out, soak it in the sea water solution to clean it, using a qtip, cottom balls or clean fingers to scrub away your newly acquired ear cheese (yup, that gross looking, smelly stuff on your plug is called ear cheese, it’s a mixture of dead skin cells and sebum!) and then once again, clean your lobes with the salt solution. Put a drop of oil on your fingers and massage it into your ears, and until your ears have fully adjusted to your new size, I’d suggest putting a drop of oil on your plugs as well to help get them back in. Clean your ears and jewelry like this once or twice daily, and do not touch your ears during the day otherwise. They are still open wounds and touching them can get bacteria in them and cause infection.

So now I’ve got you started on your stretching journey! Part Two will go into detail on the process of healing after stretches and how to know when you’re ready to stretch to the next size as well as what to do in case of infection or tears, etc!

Links to jewelry:

Stainless Steel 316L Ear Taper Stretching Kit 16pc 14G-0G

Stainless Steel Taper and Surgical Steel Plugs Kit 28pc 14G-0G

Full Steel Taper Kit 14G-0G

Happy stretching

-Mel

Outfit Ideas: First Date, Summer Casual

Summer is finally, officially here, on this side of the globe, and it’s time for all those cute summer romances to begin, so here’s an outfit post for a casual first date, or maybe something for those of you relationship long timers, or even if you’re single and going out with the girls for the night. It’s pretty much an outfit idea you can use repeatedly for different occassions where you look casual and cool and little more dolled up than the everyday. It’s even something I would wear to the office! So let’s get started.

Every outfit should have a piece that starts as it’s foundation. Usually you’ll be tempted to pick a top which stands out from every thing else and call that the base for your outfit, but for this, I’m going to start from the bottom up.

For this look, I like to start out with a nice dark denim jean, preferably with no signs of distress and I roll the bottoms of the legs into cuffs as high as I can roll them, which is usually mid calf. Or you can buy something like these Cuffed Premium Denim Skinnies from Forever 21. Skinnies are great at showing off your legs and rolling those cuffs shows a little bit of skin which adds a bit of sex appeal. This look is for a first date. We’re not trying to give away all the goodies, but a little teasing can go a long way, which is why I prefer pants over a dress for a first date.

Now that we have a foundation, we can start building on top of it. It’s summer, so remember what kind of weather it is when choosing a top. Long sleeves are going to be out of the question unless you really want to throw off the vibe of your whole night. Short sleeves are ok, but I really love this look with a sleeveless blouse.

I love the way sheer fabric looks, especially in a peachy tone. Find a light colored, flowy camisole top to pair with dark jeans. It will balance out the heaviness of the dark bottoms and give it more of a dressy summer feel, all whilst keeping the look super casual. I adore this Cascade Ruffle Cami from Forever 21 for this look.

Now for shoes. I feel shoes are crucial to finishing this look off. If you can’t walk in heels already, learn. Just kidding, I won’t force you to wear anything you’re not comfortable with, but I feel like the shoes are really what makes this look irresistibly sexy. You could alway wear a cute sandal or gladiator, or even a cute cork wedge but heels really finish this look off.

The picture doesn’t do these shoes justice, but these Bambi heels from Kate Preston are to die for. It’s a cream lacey mesh with ruffles which makes your feet look just incredible. I own this pair and my friends all tried them on as well and they make anyone look great. I can’t find them online anywhere, but they are currently available in stores at Off Broadway Shoes.

And then I like to finish this look off with a very simple accessory like this Chrysoprase Stone Pendant from Evie Jewelry Designs on Etsy.

I hope you all enjoy this look and let me know if there’s any special occassions you’d like to see an outfit idea for!

-Mel

PS: This is a fitting repost considering this outfit was based off of what I wore on my first date with my partner and our anniversary is tomorrow. Hehe

Style How To: Fold and Wear a Bandana

Oh no! So with the blog name transition, our old posts get lost on search engines because they show up with the old blog name. So to help everyone out a little, I’m going to repost a couple popular blogs (they’re also some of my favorites), so here we go:

So I get a lot of questions about how I fold my bandanas to wear in my hair and how I also get them to stay in one place the whole day. I do a lot of rockabilly and retro hair styles and when you add a bandana on top of some victory rolls it is CRUCIAL to make sure you don’t have to reposition your bandana every 15 minutes. So here’s a quick tutorial (it really is quick and simple, I just took lots of pictures)  on how to fold and wear it, and rock it all day long!

Start of with a plain old square bandana. You can buy them at places like Walmart or Target, but you usually get stuck with a paisley print, so if you’re looking for something a little different, try a craft store. They not only have solid colors but some fun prints as well and they are super cheap. I got this polka dot one at Hobby Lobby.

Find your corner with a tag. You can either cut this off, or if you’re like me, I just leave it there and make this one of my corner I fold in so no one ever sees it. Make sure you fold this corner in or you’ll end up a tag on top of your head!

Fold your tag corner and the opposite one and fold them in like this. If you want, you can start at one corner and fold/roll the bandana up, but it looks really chunky and awkward to me, and you usually end up with a little triangle piece hanging off the back of your neck. This method prevents that and also fits the shape of your head better, so less slippage.

Now this part I can show you super well because I had to use one hand with my camera, but grab each of your loose ends in your hands…

And pull!!! Pull hard enough and it will start to fold the bandana in on itself. If it looks a little bit too wide still, feel free to help it out a little and tuck in some bits here and there but don’t fold it. The loose wrinkly shape is gonna help us style it.

You can do this with your hair down but I always feel it makes the back look weird so I suggest doing this as an updo. So with your hair styled up however you please, place the middle of your bandana at the base of your style. The bottom edge should rest right up against your hairline. Gather your other ends on tops, and prepare your self to knot!

Identify your part line and tie your bandana so it’s center is in line with your part. I drew a blue line to help show you since my part is a little crazy looking with my bangs and ponytail!

Once you have your bandana lined up where you want it, finish your knot off to secure. Make sure it’s tight on your head so it’s not moving around too much, but don’t make it too tight that it’s too small to stay on or will give you a headache during the day! If your ends are poking up and out too much and starting to look like bunny ears, feel free to tuck them under the rest of the bandana to hide them. Mine were nice and flat today so I opted out of this step.

Pinning. This is probably the most crucial step in making sure your bandana stays in place ALL DAY, and is definitely the number one question I get in regards to how to properly wear a bandana. I use a total of four bobby pins to keep mine and place and for the purposes of this tutorial, I used the colored pins from Friday’s tutorial so you can actually see them.

My first two pins are going to be placed on my temple. Starting about where the blue dot is in the picture, I drag the bobby pin to catch all those little hairs in front of me ear and slide the pin up into place. It is crucial that you start in front of the bandana and catch those hair as tight as you can. If you start at the bandana instead, it will not have a taught anchor to secure it in place and will slide back until it is taught against the hairs underneath the bandana. Make sense? It’s like docking a boat. The closer to dock you secure the boat, the less it will move away. At least I think…I don’t know boats all too well.

Same thing goes for the two bobby pins placed on each side of the neck. Since your bandana is closer to your hairline, it doesn’t make as big a difference, but you want to secure them as tightly as you can to your hairline. One on each side of the nape of your neck.

Now you should have four pins in place, securely anchoring your bandana to your head, and you are ready to rock it for the day.

In the future I will show you different styles you can achieve with the bandana again, so I’ll see you soon with more tutorials!!!!

-Mel