Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Gift ideas for tight budgets

Okay, so I'm not going to catch the attention of a luxurious brand of anything with this post.  But I do think that there are many people like me out there who want to give gifts but don't have much (if any) money to buy them.  So I thought I'd create an unconventional gift guide.

The first thing to think about in this case is the person that you're giving the gift to.  What do they care a lot about?  Do they have hobbies?  Do they create anything?  Do they listen to music?  Do they collect anything?  What have they done in their lives that they're proud of?  Did they build their house themselves?  Have they started their own business?  Have they raised happy, well-adjusted children?  Is a woman stylish and beautiful?  Is someone a shutterbug?  How do they identify themselves?  Is a woman a chef or does she love cooking as a hobby?  Does a man like fixing up old cars?  Are they a creative soul?  A non-conformist?  An old-fashioned, play-by-the-rules and work hard person?
All of this information can give you clues as to something they might really cherish that wouldn't cost you much if anything to make.  It just costs you the time it takes to pay attention.

Next are some things that you can make that won't cost much or take forever to make:

Photographs.  If the person is an avid photographer, skip this idea.  Otherwise, find photos of things they've created, that they love, that they've built, of times when they were recognized for an achievement, photos of people or pets that they love/loved, or of places that they love.

Music.  Do they love old LPs or 45s?  Do they still have a CD player?  Whatever format they like best, make a play list of their favorite songs for them.

Supplies for a hobby.  This one does cost some money, most likely.  But you can get a magazine subscription, which isn't that much.  Or a book about techniques for their hobby.  You could put together a list of blogs that talk about their area of interest.  Or a gift card.  Nothing makes me happier than a gift card to MAC or Sephora, regardless of the amount.

A gift coupon:  for something that you will DO for them.  It could be small repairs that your Mom or sister needs around the house or on their car, or one day of cleaning for your Grandma who can't get to everything anymore.

Anything that you can make them that they will TRULY enjoy.  A favorite batch of cookies or cupcakes, instructions for how to do something on the computer, anything.  Let your imagination run wild.  Just remember that most people's favorite subjects are themselves, even if they won't admit it.  :-)

Gift away, chickies!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Discount off of all jewelry in my Etsy shop

For Cyber Monday, I've got a coupon code that will give you 20% off of all jewelry that you buy from my Etsy shop, 405 Creations.    Just use THIS LINK to visit my shop, and choose whatever you'd like to buy.  When you check out, use the code GIVETHANKS20 and you'll get 20% off of everything, plus some beautiful jewelry.
Enjoy your shopping!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Would you wear it?

I've seen a few things recently that I just loved, some I liked but I'm not sure how they'd actually look, and some that I just couldn't do. I thought that I'd share a few with you and see what you think of them.  The first are some Doc Marten boots, all of which I love and would absolutely wear.  But I know they're not for everyone.  Here are some of my favorites:

I would love to have these purple velvet ones.  I would totally rock them.

I also really love these.  Can you guess what my favorite color is?

I think these would look great with denim
Next is one of MAC's newest lipsticks.  Yes, it's gray.  I'm not afraid of any bold color, but this isn't's neutral.  I find it odd, but I'd love to try it.  I'd love to do my face in grayscale (with the face being white).  Would you wear it?

And last, I know gilding clothes is popular this fall, but I don't think I could wear these shoes.  They're beautiful, but you could seriously break your ankle or your head while wearing these!  Would you wear it?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Black and gold eyes

I often try to match my eye shadow to my outfit.  It's not necessary, it's just a habit that I've gotten into.  One night recently I was wearing black leggings and a top that was white, black and yellow.  I'd never worn black and yellow eyeshadow, but I've worn black and yellow/gold shirts very often, living in Pittsburgh, PA. (For those of you not into sports, all of Pittsburgh's teams share the same colors - Black and Gold.)  I decided to try black and yellow eye shadow and see if I could make it look good.  Being a fair-skinned blonde, I actually don't own any black eye shadow.  I have dark gray, which has always been close enough for me.  Also, I suppose I could have worn gold eyeshadow, but all gold shadows that I have are sparkly, and I wanted to do a matte look.  So, I used yellow shadow from NYC and dark gray shadow from Laura Mercier.  Those combined with a black eye pencil came out looking very nice, in my opinion.

Here's the finished face, and after it, the finished eye.  And then the step-by-step photos.

Here are the products I used:
Urban Decay primer potion
NYC eye shadow in Yellow
Laura Mercier eye shadow in Smokey Gray
Urban Decay 24/7 eye pencil in Zero (black)
MAC eye shadow in Chill
Maybelline Falsies mascara
NARS lipstain/gloss in DareDevil (no longer available)

First I put my eye primer on.  Once it dried, I brushed on NYC's yellow eye shadow.  It took a few coats to get it to cover well, and even then I still missed a few spots.

Next I brushed the gray shadow into the crease of my eye and a little on the inner and outer corners

Then I lined my upper eye using Urban Decay's waterproof eye pencil

Then I put matte white shadow under my eyebrow to highlight the eye

Then I blended the shadows with a big fluffy brush

Then I smudged the black liner with a smudge brush from Laura Mercier

I lined the lower eye with the pencil, getting it inside the lash line

If I had stopped there, here's what the line would look like.  Not bad, but I like a smudged look best.

In addition to smudging the pencil liner, I also brushed some of the gray shadow on top of the liner.  This makes the whole eye look so much better, in my opinion.

The last step for my eye was curling my lashes and applying mascara to the top and bottom lashes

That finished the eyes.  Here's how they looked closed
And open

And here's the complete finished look.  If you're a fan of a Pittsburgh sports team, you can wear this the next time that you go to a game.  Otherwise, just try it one day when you feel like doing something a little different.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

My Halston jacket and how to pair a jacket and dress

I'm lucky to have a very good thrift store close by.  I've always loved looking in thrift and consignment stores for unique items.  This Goodwill, however, has great classic clothing.  I know my labels pretty well, so I scan through the racks looking for things that I like that are good brands.  When I saw a beautiful tan jacket with a Halston label I was thrilled.  I haven't done research to see if it's a real Halston, but the quality of it is excellent.  It's a little tight on me, but since I plan to lose weight, I bought it anyhow.  For $5 how could I go wrong?

A few weeks after I bought it, I had an interview.  I planned to wear a navy jacket with a black dress, but at the last minute I decided the jacket needed steamed and I didn't have time for that.  Thank goodness I had the Halston jacket to throw on.

 It was going to be 80 degrees that day, so I chose a sleeveless cotton dress to wear under it.  That's where the lesson for this post comes in.  While the jacket was structured and tailored very well, the dress was more casual and really didn't match.  Here's a few photos of the jacket:

Now look at the entire outfit. I don't think it looks horrible, but it would have looked better if I'd worn a more structured dress.  The loose, casual cotton dress didn't match the jacket that well.  I wore it just because of the heat, but if I'd looked in a full-length mirror before I left home, I would have chosen a different dress (and probably a different handbag).  I decided to share this to possibly help others who don't look in full-length mirrors before they leave home.

Do you have rules about what types of dresses you'll wear with certain jackets?

The loose dress underneath the unbuttoned jacket makes me look huge!  Another not-so-good effect.

Halston jacket
Target dress (Mossimo)
Betsey Johnson sunglasses
Crystal pearl necklace by 405 Creations
Kathy Van Zeeland handbag
Anne Klein sandals

Thursday, November 8, 2012

NYC eye shadow palette

I wrote a short review of this palette a few weeks ago, but I wanted to try ALL of the shadows, so I'm doing another one.  This palette has 1 light gray shadow, 1 medium gray, and 1 dark gray, along with a white highlighting shade.  It also has a primer and a luminizer.  The primer works fairly well but it does collect in the crease a bit.  For that reason I'll continue to use my standard eye primer, Urban Decay's primer potion.  Everything else, however, went on very nicely.  The shadows do have a little sparkle to them, but I liked them.  I decided to do my left eye with the medium and dark shadows, and the right eye with the light and medium gray shadows.  I used the same highlighting shadow on both eyes.  The palette comes with a foam applicator, but I preferred to use my brushes like I normally do.

The finished left eye, using the darker shades

The finished right eye, using a lighter shade on the lid

On my left eye, I put the medium gray shade on the lid

On my right eye, I put the light gray on the lid, and the medium gray in the crease

On the left eye, I put the darkest gray shadow in the crease

I used the white highlighting shade under my eyebrows on both eyes.

After I had all of the shadows on I blended them with a fluffy brush.

After I color my eyebrows with light brown shadow, I use a spooley brush to take any excess shadow off.

I lined my eyes with MAC's powerpoint eye pencil in Engraved (dark gray)

Then I lined the inner rim of my lower eyes with Urban Decay's 24/7 waterproof eye pencil in Zero (black)

Then I smudged some of the medium gray shadow underneath each eye, and I smudged the liner on the top lid.

Then I curled my lashes, which I always do. It does make a big difference.

Last I put Maybelline's Falsies mascara on my upper and lower lashes

That was it.  I put a little light pink lip gloss on and I was finished.  I think all of the shadows look good and for the price, the palette is a great deal.  Here's a few more photos of the finished eye looks and the total look.

Disclaimer - I received the eye shadow palette only as part of a beauty bloggers sample box from