Beauty for Hair and Face – The Incredible, Edible Egg

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eggsIf you live in the US, you probably remember the catchy jingle to advertise eating eggs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3Qm7kOGgGw There is another thing that the incredible, edible egg can do.  Eggs can also be used as an inexpensive beauty treatment.  Our grandmothers, great-grandmothers, and even our great-great-grandmothers used the egg for tighter skin and clean hair.  In the book My Way of Life by Joan Crawford, she claimed that she never used shampoo on her daughters’ hair – only eggs.  Diane Irons, in her book World’s Best Kept Beauty Secrets, touts the egg for a hair shampoo and skin tightener. Once a week, I use an egg for a skin tightening facial and a hair cleanser, and I must say, I am sold on it.  For $0.35/week (I use organic eggs, and in my part of town, it costs about $4.25/dozen), I get a deep cleanser and condition for my hair, AND I get a skin tightener and refresher for my face.

For Clean Hair

Beauty writers and YouTubers differ on this.  Some tout using only the egg yolk, while others tout using the whole egg.  Personally, I use just the egg yolk, and I save the egg white for my face.

  1. I slightly beat the egg yolk with a splash of wine vinegar.  In the summer, I’ll use a  champagne or white wine vinegar, while in the winter, I’ll use red wine vinegar.  (I’ve seen vloggers from India talk about using wine, but I haven’t tried that.)
  2. In the shower, I wet my hair with lukewarm (almost cool) water until it is sopping wet.
  3. I put the egg mixture in my hair and work it in my scalp and hair like a regular shampoo.  I work it in for about 5 minutes.
  4. I rinse my hair thoroughly in lukewarm (almost cool) water.

I make sure that the water is lukewarm to cool, because the hot water will start cooking the egg in my hair, and that’s not an effect that I’m looking for.

For Tighter, Smoother Skin

From what I’ve read and seen in books, blogs, and video, I’ve seen two approaches:

  • Using just the egg white on the face and neck
  • Use the egg white on the face and neck, and then covering the face and neck with tissue paper

Personally, I use the egg white on the face and neck.  I put the egg white on my face until it dries.  Then, I splash a little water on my face and use a cotton washcloth to remove the egg white.

Make a simple, casual skirt from two t-shirts

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There are times where I want to be casual and comfortable, but sometimes a pair of shorts or a pair of yoga pants is just too sloppy.  A simple skirt works for those times.  I’ve seen quite a number of tutorials and how-to books on converting t-shirts to skirts, so I wanted to take two t-shirts that I had, and make a simple skirt with a yoga-pant waistband.

1 - Original TShirts

 

The navy t-shirt wasn’t in as good of condition as the burgundy shirt, so I decided to use the burgundy shirt as the skirt and the navy shirt as the waistband.

I cut the navy shirt to make the waistband.

2 - Cut Tshirt for Yoga Waist

I cut the burgundy shirt to make the skirt.

3 - Cut Tshirt for Skirt

After resizing the burgundy piece to fit better (not pictured), I sewed the alterations.

4 - Resize the Skirt

 

I sewed the blue waistband to the burgundy skirt.

5 - Sew Waist to Skirt 6 - Sew Waist to Skirt 2

 

Here is the final result of the skirt.  I tried to take a selfie of me in the skirt using my phone, but it didn’t come out in the way that I wanted, so here’s the best that I have.

7 - Result 1 8 - Result 2

 

I like the flexibility of the yoga-pant waistband because it’s comfortable, and it works if I’m having an attack with my celiac disease, where my stomach swells up to where I look like I’m about 6 months pregnant.

 

An easy-peasy refashion – sweater to cardigan

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I have a cotton-cashmere sweater that’s perfect for the cold spells in Florida, which run between 60 – 70 degrees Fahrenheit.  It’s soft and warm without being oppressively hot.  However, I don’t like it as a sweater because it’s too boxy.

1 - OriginalSweater

I thought that this would work as an open cardigan because it would give me more flexibility.  I can belt it, leave it open, or clip it with a sweater clip.

I needed something for bias tape, and I found some grosgrain ribbon that I had left over from another project.

2 - Sweater and Ribbon

 

I measured out some ribbon for the bias tape.

3 - Measure Ribbon

To easily find the middle of the sweater, I folded it long ways and cut the front of the sweater for the opening.

4 - Cut in Half 1 5 - Cut in Half 2 6 - Cut in Half 3

I then finished the seam of the opening with the ribbon as the bias tape.

7 - Ribbon as Bias 8 - Sew Ribbon 9 - Fold Bias Over 10 - Sew Bias

Voila! A cardigan sweater!

11 - Final Result

 

 

A simple adjustment to feminize a t-shirt

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For the past few months, I’ve been putting in an effort to lose weight and tone up my body, and I’m getting comfortable enough in my progress to show off my hard work.  I typically wear men’s t-shirts when working out or as pajamas, so I usually use them as they are.  However, my t-shirts are getting too baggy and boxy, and I want to start showing off the results of my work, so I’ve been looking into tailoring my t-shirts for the gym.

This is one of the t-shirts that I have that I wanted to adjust:

1 - Original Shirt

The saying on the shirt (“Raise the Bar”) is appropriate and uplifting for working out

 

The look that I wanted to go for was to “feminize” the shirt by adjusting the neckline and resizing the shirt.  I started by removing the collar.

2 - Cut Neckline

I pinned down the neckline and stitched it with an overlock stitch and a straight stitch.

3 - Pin Down Hem 4 - Stich Hem

 

After resizing and tailoring the shirt (not shown), here is the result.  I still kept it a little loose, but it fits more shapely rather than boxy.

5 - Final Product

A “Cheeky” Way to Refashion Old T-Shirts

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I love working with t-shirts for upcycling and refashioning.  The material is comfortable and easy to work with.  There are so many tutorials and how-to books out there on how to convert a t-shirt into a blouse, dress, skirt, scarf, stuffed animal, and blankets.  I was looking for a clever and useful way to refashion t-shirts, and I found one.  I converted these…..

OldTShirts

to these…..

Undies

Yes, these are underpants!  Granted, these aren’t underpants that I would wear on a hot date, but they are comfortable, especially when working out.  I like the idea of making my own underwear because I can size it to my body proportions.  I have small hips width-wise, but I have a “J-Lo butt” (or a “Kim Kardashian butt” for the younger crowd), so unless it’s the stretchy kind of underpants that conform to my body, underwear in my size is either granny panties that are too big, or fashionable underwear that’s a little too small because of my butt (buying the underwear in a larger size doesn’t work because then they’re too big).  Also, I’m losing weight, so not only are my clothing sizes affected, but my underwear size is affected, too.  I can make my own underwear with t-shirts and elastic to suit my current size and body for about $2.00/pair.

So how did I do this?  I followed a tutorial from the web series Whitney Sews.  I really like her show because she often has the cleverest ideas for refashioning, and I really was dying to try this idea.  The video below is the tutorial:

 

Saving Time and Money by Shopping And Organizing My Closet

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Aaaaahhhhhhh!!!!!

Aaaaahhhhhhh!!!!!

When I used to have a disorganized closet, I ended up wasting money and time.  I wasted money because, more often than not, I wasn’t sure what I had, and I would end up purchasing something that I already owned.  It was a time waster because it would take time to go through a disorganized, cluttered mess to find things to wear, and since time is money, this is another way where I wasted money.  By keeping my closet organized, I know what I have, and I end up saving money from unnecessary purchases as well as save time with putting outfits together for an event (work, date, party, etc.).  Since I can easily put together outfits because it’s organized and I can tell what I have, I’m not stressed out.

This is what I do

1. Once every two months, I spend a day going through my closet to see what I already have.  I sort through the clothes and accessories, and try on everything.  I make sure that I am honest about fit, condition, and how often I wear the item.

2. I separate the items in four categories – keep, sell/donate, mend/refashion, recycle

KeepBox

This is self-explanatory.  These are items I wear all the time because the color, fit, and material flatter me.

SellOrDonateBox

Item is in good condition, but for some reason or another, I don’t use the item enough to keep it.  Some things that fall into this category are: purses I don’t use, accessories I don’t wear, clothes that I wore once or twice for an event but don’t wear in my everyday life, clothes that are too big or too small that can’t easily be tailored or refashioned.  If it’s an upscale designer, a valuable accessory or vintage item, I sell it.   I donate the rest of the items to charity.

RefashionBox

These are items that I love.  It may be an item with a beautiful print, or it may be an item made with high-quality materials and manufacturing processes.  However, it needs mending, tailoring, or a revamp to modernize it.  In order to prevent clutter, I remember to schedule a day when I can work on these items.

A rule that I follow – If I add a garment or accessory to my collection, I get rid of another garment or accessory.

RecycleBox

These are the items that are stained, have worn fabric, made of cheap fabric (ex: rayon), or damaged beyond repair.  If the item has some features that I can reuse that are in good condition, like zippers, buttons and elastic, I will remove those notions from the garment before throwing it into the recycle bin.  Those notions can get pretty expensive.  In Orlando, we have a number of recycle bins around the town for old clothes and accessories.

One exception: I throw away old, used undergarments.

3. Stylists recommend making a lookbook to help with putting outfits together.  I’m currently working on that.  I can do a “hardcopy”, but I noticed that there is a smartphone app that does the trick called Stylicious (http://styliciousapp.com/).  It saves money in paper, ink and supplies, and it’s handy.

4. I organize my closet.  Typically, I used to organize my closet by garment (jacket, skirts, pants, shirts, dresses, suits), but for some reason, I find it easier for me to organize the closet by color.  I can see what “goes” a lot easier that way.  I also organize my shoes based on color and style as well on a shoe shelf.

 

 

Purchasing *Authentic* Luxury Brands on the Cheap

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Vintage Chanel Fashion Sketch

This is a vintage Chanel fashion sketch that I found that I really like.

I have a confession to make.

Although my top priority is saving money to reach my ultimate goal, I’m still a sucker for high-end brands.  No, I’m not a complete label whore.  Quite frankly, I think a lot of the brands du jour are overrated, and a few of these brands that once represented quality have gone downhill by changing their manufacturing processes (*cough*Coach*cough*).  However, there are certain brands that I just can’t get enough of.  The quality of these goods cannot be matched. While some of the price I pay is for the name, I know that much of the price goes to the quality and manufacturing process.

 

Quick Note

To really get an education on how Chanel clothing is made, watch the documentary Signe Chanel.  Unfortunately, it’s not available for purchase in the US (unless you have a region-neutral DVD player). If you can find a video-on-demand service that has this documentary, watch it from there.

 

I’m not making as many high-end purchases as I once did because my ultimate goal is more important, but I still want to make an occasional purchase. However, I don’t want to pay full price.

Luxury resale to the rescue!

Not only am I getting a good at a more affordable price, but I can buy with confidence, since these places authenticate the goods and guarantee that the goods that they sell are authentic.

Two of my favorite sites are ShopRDR (http://www.shoprdr.com/) and Yoogi’s Closet (http://www.yoogiscloset.com/).  Both of these sites guarantee that the product is authentic, and both stores sell goods in excellent condition.  I’ve made quite a few purchases from ShopRDR since I’ve been a customer since 2007, and I’m looking to start purchasing from Yoogi’s Closet.  It seems that Yoogi’s Closet is starting to get a bigger selection of high-end luxury goods than ShopRDR, but ShopRDR still has some nice finds.

I also want to give a special mention to Shop Hers (http://shop-hers.com/), a luxury resale site that reminds me of a social network for buying and selling pre-owned luxury goods.  Individuals can sell their own goods on the site as a private seller, or the seller can let Shop Hers sell it for them.  Although it seems a little risky regarding purchasing authentic goods, the site is very good about blocking (and pressing charges against) people who are trying to sell fakes.

Shop Goodwill (http://www.shopgoodwill.com) will often have high-end luxury items on their auction site.  However, I often take the caveat emptor approach with purchasing designer goods from that site.  While some of the stores posting on the site get the goods authenticated, other stores do not.  I have found a few situations where the store unwittingly posted a fake on the site, and I make sure that I email the poster to alert them so the company doesn’t get in trouble.  In fact, I got burned on a Prada purse purchase from Shop Goodwill.  It had all the hallmarks of a genuine purse (made of leather, the lining had the “Prada” name stitched in the fabric, the logo looked right, the inner label was metal), but it turned out to be a really well-made fake.  The two signs were: the color of the lining (black) didn’t match the color of the purse (tan), and the inner label was not a rounded rectangle (it was a regular rectangle).

never purchase luxury resale items from eBay or Etsy.  Most of the items being sold on those sites are fake, so I avoid those sites like the plague.  Unfortunately, it’s hard to catch these crooks because the majority of the counterfeit sellers are outside of the US jurisdiction.

Quick Note

I have to get on my soapbox for a moment. Being an owner of an eCommerce accessories store that specializes in selling goods from artisan designers, I understand the work it takes to make these creations, especially since I’m one of the designers on the site.  To me, counterfeit goods are a slap in the face to the artist/designer that created the work.  I think that it is completely okay to make a creation that’s inspired by the original designer.  In fact, that’s a great compliment to the influence the designer’s style has.   However, when people blatantly add labels and the insignia from the designer and claim that they are designer originals, I take issue.  It’s thievery, plain and simple, and knowingly purchasing counterfeit goods is like being an accessory to a crime.  If you can’t afford the original, either buy a less-expensive inspiration piece, make your own inspiration piece, or save your money until you can afford the original.
(CHEAP PLUG ALERT: The store is called Two Swans Shoppe (http://www.twoswansshoppe.com), and we’re having a few sales going on, so come shop!)

 

I’m always interested in learning about new things.  If you know about any luxury retail sites that sell authentic pre-owned goods, let me know about them.  If you know of any luxury resale stores in the Orlando area, let me know about them as well.

Blinging Up a Cheap and Boring Compact Mirror

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A compact mirror is something to have in my purse, but some of the fashionable compact mirrors are expensive. Designer mirrors are going as high as $50 USD, and the vintage mirrors are going for as high as $20. Since I have a jewelry business, I wanted something that was fashionable and showed some personality. I’ve decided to make my own compact mirror by “blinging” a cheap and boring mirror.

I picked up this mirror at Big Lots for $0.75.  As you can see, it has a basic black plastic cover.

Compact_2

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Since I’m a sucker for stones, I went through my “design kit” to get some materials.

from l to r: rhinestones, highlighter to draw pattern, toothpicks and card to help apply glue, E6000 glue with nozzle

from l to r: rhinestones, highlighter to draw pattern, toothpicks and card to help apply glue, E6000 glue with nozzle

I originally planned on creating a rhinestone swan on the compact to represent my business (cheap plug alert: Two Swans Shoppe – http://www.twoswansshoppe.com), but I decided to freestyle a pattern by laying it out on the compact.

SketchItOut

I got the glue and started gluing the rhinestones.  To make life a little easier, I put the glue on the card, and used the toothpick as an applicator to spread the glue evenly on the stone.

GluingStones

I stuck the rhinestones on the compact, and although the E6000 dries quickly, I let it sit overnight to give the glue a chance to cure.

Voila! A glam compact!

Voila! A glam compact!

I really like how it turned out.  It came to about $2.00 worth of materials (including the compact) and about 1/2 hour of labor.  It also gives me an option to make a pretty but inexpensive gift for someone.  Just sew up a small pouch from pretty fabric and ribbon to hold the compact, and Bob’s your uncle!

I decided to have a little fun with this, so while I was wearing my Turbie Twist to dry my hair, I channeled my inner little Edie with the mirror and the picture.

Well...Mother says that you're conservative.

Well…Mother says that you’re conservative.

BTW – that’s not really my house – that’s a picture from the Grey Gardens mansion.

An Update on My Experiments with Natural Beauty Treatments

updpate

I am always on the lookout for inexpensive, natural beauty treatments.  I’ve experimented with a few options, which you can read about here: https://highlifeonthecheap.wordpress.com/category/inexpensive-and-unconventional-beauty-treatments/.   After some experiments, I have a few updates.

  • I still use Milk of Magnesia as an antiperspirant and deodorant.  It works, and it doesn’t have a strange scent.  The only thing is it can be a little messy, but I found a way to control the mess by putting the MoM in roll-on bottles, and I use the roll-on as an applicator.  If I need a little extra protection, then I use the MoM, and after it dries, I pat on some cornstarch.
  • I tried the natural DIY shampoo method.  I really, really wanted it to work.  In the long run, it just didn’t work with my hair type (I have baby-fine hair).  I’ve tried the baking soda/apple cider vinegar method in the past, but it really made my hair dry and frizzy, so I stopped that immediately.  I also tried the homemade shampoo with coconut milk and castile soap, but it weighed down my hair and made it look greasy.  Using the apple cider vinegar as the conditioning rinse worked for awhile, but then it made my hair really dry, so I had to stop that.  I even tried using castile soap diluted with distilled water to make a “baby shampoo” – it worked great as a body wash, but again, my hair was waxy.  I’ve accepted that buying natural shampoo and conditioner is an expense that I need to have.
  • One DIY hair cleaner that really worked is….raw egg yolk! Once a week, I mix a splash of lemon juice or champagne vinegar in one raw egg yolk and beat the ingredients with a fork.  Then, after rinsing my hair in cool water until it is sopping wet, I wash my hair with the egg and leave it sit for about 10-20 minutes. Then, I rinse with cool water.  My hair has soooo much body and volume after washing with an egg, and it’s soft.
  • I also tried the natural DIY recipe for antiperspirant/deodorant using coconut oil, cornstarch, and baking soda.  I really, really liked this one because it was very effective with preventing odor and perspiration….UNTIL…after about a month, my underarms were becoming discolored and inflammed!! I’m convinced that it was from how my body was reacting to the baking soda, so I immediately stopped using it.  Within a few days of discontinuing usage, my underarms were back to normal.  I am going to experiment with this a little bit.  I think that the next one that I try will involve coconut oil, arrowroot powder, and bentonine clay.

I’ve started experimenting with making natural scents, so I will be posting on that within the next few days.  My next experiment is going to be making natural cosmetics, so I will keep you posted on that.

Another Free Language Resource – Courses from the Foreign Services

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sticks-hi

 An old joke:
Q: What do you call a person who speaks many languages?
A: Polyglot
Q: What do you call a person who speaks three languages?
A: Triligual
Q: What do you call a person who speaks two languages?
A: Bilingual
Q: What do you call a person who speaks one language?
A: American

In my opinion, learning another language is an important skill to have in order to be competitive in the global economy.  To me, it also acts as an anti-aging technique because it’s keeping the brain active.

In addition to the resources that I covered in the post Resources for Learning a New Language on the Cheap, I found another FREE resource for learning a new language.

The Foreign Service Institute (http://www.state.gov/m/fsi/) provides language and cultural education for government personnel such as diplomats and foreign affairs personnel who need to learn another language to perform their job.

Luckily for us, the language courses are in the public domain, and they are free.  You can get the documentation and audio for free from one of the following sites:

Note: In order for the course to “make sense”, you must read the documentation while you are listening to the audio files.

Tengo que continuar con mi lecciones. íHasta lluego!