Sunday, September 28, 2014

Rediscovering Benefit: My Favorite Benefit Products

Have you ever fallen in love with a product, stopped using it for awhile, rediscovered it, and fell in love with it all over again? For whatever reason, I find that this happens to me all. the. time.  This time around, I rediscovered a few Benefit products I regularly used in the past and also picked up a new eyeliner that is borderline genius/kind of annoying.

The "rediscovery" usually happens out of chance and sometimes out of curiosity.  This time, I picked a small box of Benefit samples from Sephora as my 500 point-perk.  I wasn't expecting much and I really wasn't too excited because I was familiar with the products in the box, which included lollitint and "they're Real" mascara.  I didn't use the products right away (like I normally would).  Instead, I put them in my travel bag for a weekend getaway because the tubes were tiny and they were the perfect sizes to carry on a plane.  I used the they're Real mascara, they're Real eyeliner, and lollitint cheek/lip stain in HOT Vegas weather and realized they were the best products I had used in a looong time!

The they're Real mascara has an applicator with plastic bristles that are great at separating lashes and add good amount of volume and some length.  Layering Benefit's they're Real mascara on top of Maybelline's Lash Blast is the most perfect mascara combination EVER!!!!!

Maybelline's lash blast gives my stick straight lashes tons of volume and the they're Real mascara helps define and separate my lashes, while making them look thicker.  The result is phenomenal and I highly recommend that you try it!  I honestly don't know why I ever forgot to repurchase the they're Real mascara after I ran out of my last tube, but I'll be sure to repurchase it after running out of this sample.

A few weeks after I purchased the they're Real mascara, my best friend asked me if I tried the corresponding eyeliner.  Say what?! I didn't even know there was a corresponding eyeliner.  I was immediately curious.  I went home and googled it, watched a bunch of reviews on Youtube, then went out and grabbed a stick of they're Real eyeliner to try.

The eyeliner is a gel formula that comes out of the tube when you twist the base.  The formula is long-lasting, water-resistant, and can be makeup remover resistant as well.  I've worn the mascara everyday for the last couple of months and have very rarely seen any transferring to my under-eye raccoon eyes here!  The tip of the eyeliner is also genius because it's slanted.  This makes winging out eyeliner soooo much easier and faster.  You just press the gel against your lid and voila!  You're done son!  Really.  It's that easy.

Now, the only annoying part about this eyeliner is the waste and clumping that happens if you twist the base of the tube one too many times and too much product comes out.  You end up with something that looks like this....

Sorry, please ignore the gross-ness of the tube.  Like I said, I've had this for a few months.  Let's just focus on the tip of the eyeliner, shall we?  You see how all that product has come out at the tip?  That's waste.  That's 2-3 applications that I will have to wipe off the tip.  Why?  Because if I try to use the eyeliner when there is this much product at the tip, I usually end up with clumps of geleyeliner on my lid.  Just look at the swatch picture below for proof...

See that glob of eyeliner in the middle of the picture?'s super annoying when the glob is on your eyelid and you're in a rush to get ready for work in the morning.  Other than being wasteful, the gel itself is perfect.

Another long-wearing product I tried again was their lip/cheek stain.  I used to have the benetint stain, but it didn't work out for me because I didn't know how to blend it in on my face without leaving streaks so I just threw it out.  This time, I tried lollitint.  It's a pinkish-purple colored stain that looks great on the cheeks as well as the lips. Lollitint isn't as bright and dark compared to benetint so blending it in is a lot easier.

Also, instead of applying the stain directly onto my cheeks from the brush, I put a little dab of the stain on my finger, then blend it into my face.  This way, I don't end up with weird streaks or dark spots.  The result is a long-wearing, natural flush that is easy and quick for me to create in the mornings when I'm in a rush to get out the door.

The last product from Benefit that I'm loving again is the Bella Bamba blush.

The blush is a peachy-pink color with fine sparkles.  Layered on top of lollitint, bella bamba gives my cheeks that perfect glow that I love, especially since the weather is slowly getting more and more gloomy.

Bella bamba is lollitint's perfect companion.  I feel like bella bamba accentuates lollitint's pink tones and the combination would look great on any skin tone.

This awkward picture shows what bella bamba, lollitint, and lollitint + bella bamba look like on my skin respectively from top to bottom.

As you can see, the combination swatch is the most vivid.  Believe me, I don't put large streaks of this combination on my cheeks.  I blend these babies in and they create the perfect flush of color!

It's amazing how quickly I forgot about these products and how quickly I fell in love with them again.      I encourage you to try these products anytime you're looking for a new mascara, eyeliner, or blush.  I mean, they have to be pretty awesome for me to write a post this long.  Have you rediscovered any makeup products?

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Best Mop and Bucket EVER?!

So a couple of posts ago I shared my homemade cleaning recipes with you guys and mentioned a mopping solution I normally make.  Well, today I want to share the mop and bucket I use!

I want to start by prefacing that the O-Cedar Easy Wring Mop and Bucket ($29.99) I got from Walmart was the least expensive option compared to other self-wringing bucket systems I looked at. If you search Amazon for self-wringing buckets, there are a ton of options (I'm pretty sure they all work the same).

This is a self-wringing system because you don't have to use your hands to wring your mop.  You simply step on the pedal at the base of the bucket and the upper portion of the bucket spins so that centripetal force (?) forces water out of your mop!  It's as simple as that!

The bucket also has a "max" sticker to let you know when the bucket is full to ensure your mop isn't absorbing any more cleaning solution while you are wringing it out.

I also love that the mop itself is made up of microfiber material so it does really well with picking up dirt and absorbing messes!  If you want, you can also detach the mop head and pop it into the washer for easy cleaning.

I have been using my bucket and mop weekly for a couple of months and I must say that I love it.  I know you may be asking "why a mop and bucket?" when there are more "modern" ways to clean my floors, but I must say that steam cleaners and the wet cleaning pads have not been very effective for me.  Also, I hate how obnoxiously-scented wet cleaning pads are and I don't like constantly changing the pads for steam cleaners because I feel like they can get so dirty midway through a cleaning session.  With a mop and bucket, I can wring out the gunk and keep on trucking with my cleaning!  A mop and bucket also gives me the versatility of making my own cleaning solutions to meet my floors' needs.

What do you guys think about using a mop and bucket?  Is it too old school?  Do you really feel like those wet cleaning pads work?
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Sunday, September 21, 2014

DIY Wall Decor Ideas

As you may or may not have noticed in the pictures I've posted of my home so far, a lot of my wall decor are DIY pieces that I've put together myself.  In this post, I want to share some DIY wall decor ideas with you!

Framed fabric.  Framing pieces of fabric is simple and can be a quick and inexpensive way for you to add color to your walls.  The fabric you choose doesn't necessarily have to come from store-bought scraps.  You can even use old articles of clothing with great patterns that you like.  In my home, I chose to frame one of my late grandmother's scarves as a way to remember her.   

Frame your own paintings.  Another inexpensive wall decor idea is to frame your own paintings!  I decided to dabble in a little watercolor and painted 4 simple flower pieces!  I know these pieces don't look professional, but I love that I created them myself and they each have their own little imperfections created by me!

Create a shrine gallery wall dedicated to your family and friends!  As I have shared in previous posts, I have a gallery wall in my living room dedicated to my family (including four-legged babies) and friends.  This is a great way to display old pictures and adds a very personal touch to your home! 

I hope this post gave you some wall decor ideas!  I would also love to read about any other ideas you may have or have used in your own home!

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Entry Way Progress

Hey guys!  I just wanted to pop in and share the progress I've made in the entry way so far.  Let's start with a "before" photo so that you have an idea what the space looked like when I got my keys...

As you can see, the floors were in bad shape and there was a door (left) that led from the living room to my bedroom.  One of the first things I decided to do was to close up the doorway to create more wall space and really separate the bedrooms from the common living areas.

Now, this is a shot of my living room today...

My floors are now a dark walnut color and the walls are also a lighter grey instead of the yellowish-tan color they were before.

Here are a few more shots...

Baskets, baskets, and more baskets!  As I've mentioned before, I love using baskets everywhere and anywhere to keep things organized. The basket farthest to the left is my "recycling basket".  I use this basket to toss junk mail in and I usually empty it at the end of every week.  This way, I don't end up with a bunch of junk mail on my coffee table, dining table, desk, bedroom, kitchen, laundry get the point!  The middle basket is the "treat basket".  I had to get a basket with a lid so that my 4 dogs couldn't get into the basket of treats when I wasn't home.  This way, I can give my dogs their daily treats before I leave for work and store the jars of treats in this basket instead of leaving them on top of the entryway table.  Lastly, the black and white basket holds clean blankets and linens that I like to use to snuggle up on the couch with.

Let's get a little more close and personal...

On my entryway table, I just have a bowl that holds a bunch of pens I use for work and headphones I use on my jogs/runs, a couple of pictures of my sisters, a candle (given to me by a co-worker), and a plant (given to me by another co-worker/friend).

So, my entryway doesn't look as sparse as it did they day I moved in, but I still feel like this part of my home needs a few tweaks for this space to be considered "finished".  For starters, I want to add a rug to break up the wood on wood action.

I was thinking about something like this?

or this?


Also, I want to switch out the little blue chair I have with this...

BAM!  This chair screams Wendy!  I love it and can't wait to replace my current blue chair with this because it makes such a bold statement...just what I want for my entryway.

There you have it!  I wanted to give you guys a little tour of my entryway and the plans I have to finish it.  I hope you guys enjoyed!  Have a nice day!

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Saturday, September 6, 2014

How to Make Homemade Cleaning Solutions

So, I know there are plenty of resources available online for DIY cleaning solutions, but I wanted to share my 3 favorites with you!  The best part about the cleaning solutions I make is that you generally only need 4 ingredients:  alcohol, liquid dish soap, vinegar, and water.  

Mopping Solution:
1 gallon of hot water
1/2 cup of vinegar
1 tsp of dish soap

I usually pour all the ingredients into my mopping bucket and use my mop to "mix" the ingredients. Tip:  The hotter the water, the more quickly the solution will dry off your floors after mopping.  

Sanitizer/All-Purpose Spray:
1:1 alcohol to water

The alcohol helps this solution dry quickly if you plan on wiping down counter tops or desk tops.  Also, the alcohol helps to sanitize surfaces and is great to use on multiple surfaces (i.e. plastic, glass, metal).  Just be sure to spot test on a small area if you are unsure how the surface you're cleaning reacts to alcohol.  
Tip:  Using this solution with a microfiber cloth really helps break up tough messes!

Shower Cleaner/Sink Cleaner:
1:3  dish soap to vinegar

I use this to clean my sink after doing the dishes or to clean my shower.  The soap is a great degreaser and this solution helps me prevent any type of gunk build-up that happens in the sink or shower..yuk!
Tip:  Using this solution with a non-scratching scrubbing pad will help you cut through grease and oils.

Of course, you may be thinking "why go through all this trouble?  Why not just buy your cleaning solutions?".  Well, you see....I still have quite a few store-bought cleaning solutions sitting around the house, but a lot of them have obnoxious smells that make me nauseous and give me migraines.  Also, I feel a lot better about a solution I've made with simple ingredients that I know won't harm me or my dogs.  I have used these solutions for the last few months and they are effective and are all very affordable to make!  The next time you run out of the cleaning solutions you currently use, you should try making one of these and see how you like it!

Side note:  I know there are plenty of people who hate the smell of vinegar, but one thing I've found is that as soon as the solutions that contain vinegar dry or are washed down the drain, the smell dissipates!  So, don't worry about the smell.  Just try it!
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Monday, September 1, 2014

Confessions of a NEW DIY/ Home Improvement Blogger

I have only been blogging for less than a year, but I have to say that my blog has already been so rewarding and educational.  Looking back at all of my posts so far, I am able to see everything that I've accomplished in the last 8 months.  In a way, this blog was created as a "journal" of my home improvement projects...a journal that I share with anyone who wants to read, of course.  This blog has also been very educational for me because there are aspects of blogging or having a blog that I never considered.  Let me share some of the things I've learned..

1.  Blogging will become more than just posting pictures and directions of your projects.  When I initially thought about starting a home improvement/crafts/DIY blog, I just thought it would be me posting "how-to's" for the projects that I'm working on and the progress I've made on my house. I am coming to find that blogging is also about taking great pictures, giving clear and concise directions, and making sure your blog content is appropriate or interesting.

2.  You might hear crickets for a while.  Believe me, I'm still hearing crickets.  Although the feedback I've gotten have all been positive, 90% of the feedback I've received are from family and friends - the people who love and support me.  I remember reading blog posts about "How to Start a Blog" before I started Life on Elizabeth and every single post mentioned a lack of feedback or very little to no follows.  In a way, I really like this.  Not that I don't want anyone to read my blog, but I want a little (or a lot) of time to find my voice and what my direction really is.  Zero to very little followers will give me time to do that. I hope.

3.  Home Improvement/DIY/Crafts projects don't happen all day, 'er day.  When I do work on a project, I make sure to take as many pictures as I can along the way so that I can have great visuals for the directions I give.  However, there are times when I finish a project and decide not to post about it because I feel like it isn't really interesting or helpful to anyone in the world wide web.  Then, there are times when I just don't want to work on ANY projects (like the last hiatus I had).  Having a 40+ hour/ week job and 4 dogs doesn't give me a lot of time to work on home projects all the time.  Most of the time, I'm just trying to keep my house clean and tidy.

4.  Sometimes I want to write about things that have nothing to do with my home.  What can I say?  I'm a woman with more interests than just my house.  I LOVE makeup, I like finding crazy bargains, and I like to shop.  I'm constantly debating whether I should post about the things I've bought or the makeup I love.  I know blogs should have a specific idea or focus, but I can't help it.  I really do see this blog as my journal for my life (in my new home).  So I'm just going to blog about anything and everything I want, ok?  Ok.

So, that's it.  That's the list of things I've learned in the last 8 months of blogging.  Even though having a blog turned out to be a bigger hobby than I had originally thought, I love how blogging gives me a creative way to share my projects!  Are you a new blogger too?  What have you learned from your blog?
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