For The Lips: Perfectly Pretty and Practical.

Dear Cyber-Friends,

Happy DIY Friday!

Today’s original recipe can be found here, where a fellow blogger talks about coming up with a copy-cat recipe for Burt’s Bees lip balm and gives step-by-step directions. I’ve experimented twice with it now, and today’s post will be about the second attempt: using it as a base for a mica-powder-tinted lip balm.


How messy, you wonder? Let me show you some (slightly blurry) aftermath…


This stuff hardens REALLY fast when you take it away from the heat of the double boiler, especially if you make it in small scaled-down batches like I did. Combine that with keeping multiple colors and containers separate, and you get, well, the picture above.

Below is the “before” picture of that counter…


As you can see, the base ingredients from the recipe are being used:

  • Beeswax
  • Cocoa Butter
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Lanolin
  • Essential Oils

Differences: I switched up the “flavors” of the essential oils to have a little variety; I skipped the E oil because I didn’t have any around; I added several different shades of mica powder (all of which had been labeled as “safe for lips”); I scaled down the recipe to make exactly the right amount for the number of containers I wanted.

As messy as this was, they turned out really pretty…


The mica powder adds a TON of shimmer in the container, but once it’s on your lips it basically looks like regular tinted lip balm. The pink one on the left doubles as a “hint of lip gloss” look without the stickiness of actual lip gloss, because it’s light enough you can’t see the color — just the shimmer.

If I want more of a traditional lipstick look, I just add a couple extra layers and maybe some lip liner. Because I love the shiny and the 3-d lip look, I also add a light coat of loose mica powder (it can even be the matching color!) as a highlight.

The moisturizing factor is amazing; they last even longer than regular lip balm for keeping my lips feeling soft and smooth. Plus, they come out really solid, so I’ve never had a problem with them melting in the containers when it gets hot. Definitely a win in a tropical climate…

I don’t have any demo type pictures this post because I’ve yet to take a picture of my lips that I don’t feel is awkward and weird. Eyes, yes, but not lips. If you have any tips on how to do it, please leave them in a comment!

Tomorrow may or may not have a make-up look. I haven’t taken one, and I don’t know if I’ll get around to it.

I’ll be posting a post about posting soon, too; this month will have some alterations to the schedule, and I’m going to talk about why that is and what they’ll be.

Thanks for reading!



Three-In-One: Black Eyeliner Looks.

Dear Cyber-Friends,

It’s DIY Friday! This time, I’m going to show off my homemade black eyeliner.

Today’s post will be a little different from previous some DIY, because I’m not going to do a step-by-step how-to. This is partly because (amazingly) I can actually give you the link to the original recipe I modified, and partly because I ended up taking a lot of pictures showing off several the ways this eyeliner can be used, and thought that might be more interesting.

I was specifically looking to make an eyeliner that didn’t use activated charcoal for the color — very common in DIY recipes, I’ve found. I have nothing against using it, I just never have and didn’t have any around.

However, I did have black iron oxide. I found this original recipe if you’re interested in trying it yourself. I basically just modified it for what ingredients I happened to actually have at the time.


Those ingredients happened to be sunflower oil, beeswax, cocoa butter, clay, and of course, black iron oxide.

Obviously, this means my eyeliner came out a little different than the original… But I still followed the same basic steps, melting and adding in the double-boiler.

Here’s what it looked like when I was done:


Very solid, and very black.

I was a little worried about how well I could use it with my small detail brush (stolen from my oil painting brushes before it ever got used), since it was so very solid. But I was worried for nothing!

Running the brush over the eyeliner several times quickly turns the bristles black, and it easily transfers to my skin. It looks like nothing is getting used because it takes very little to be effective — basically it means this tiny jar will last approximately forever.

Now, onto the looks!

First up is my eye with nothing on, for comparison purposes.


And then with a simple thin line, very basic.


I LOVE how much control and precision the brush gives me, and the homemade eyeliner is very cooperative.


You can see there is just a little smudging onto the crease above my eye.

I’ve yet to use ANY eyeliner that doesn’t do this if I put it on too thick (I put on quite a few layers to make sure it’d show up on the camera). With the homemade stuff, though, mistakes come off super easily and cleanly, while still lasting quite a while where I want it. I can’t say as much for every store-bought eyeliner!

My second look really demonstrates how much fun you can have with homemade eyeliner and a good detail brush:


Fairy makeup! I can’t resist it…

As mentioned, this cleans up very nicely! The beeswax base means it slides off super cleanly, with just a little warmth and/or oil to help if it gives you trouble.

I got look number three when removing the fairy makeup…


The classic, ever-popular, smudgy smokey eye.

So there you have it: three quick and easy looks using only homemade eyeliner!

Be sure to come back for tomorrow’s post when I show off a little more of the mica powder looks…



Daytime friendly.

Dear Cyber-Friends,

Time for another home-made make-up look!

Today’s eye makeup is daytime-friendly, that can easily transition to evening.



For this look, I started with a base of arrowroot/mica powder, applied with a blending brush.

Then I took the darker shadow mix I created (from this post) and used a dome smudge brush to apply along the upper lid and slightly into the outer crease.

I took a clean blending brush to smooth out the edges, and then used it to apply arrowroot/mica as a finishing powder along the underside of the eyebrows and the lower lid, blending it into the edges of the shadow.

I took a detail liner brush, and applied a cream eyeshadow I made out of a dark purple mica powder (look for a future DYI Friday post on making that!) along and slightly beyond the outer edge of the lash line, top and bottom.

This makeup wears well. I didn’t noticed the color migrating — like it did in last week’s look — until I teared up during a particularly feels-filled scene of a movie later in the evening. After that, the shadow was definitely heavier in the creases of the eyelid. But I find that an acceptable exception. We’ll see how much that happens with the powder base verses a cream base in future looks.

Also, on the rest of my face, I’m wearing a homemade face cream, concealer, and finishing powder! Those will all get future blog posts as well.



Subtle Enough For Work.

Dear Cyber-Friends,

As promised, here is my all-homemade make-up look!

For the first official post, I went with something completely different: subtlety. This is because I needed an eye make-up look I could wear to work, something very neutral. So I figured I’d share it with you all!



My eyes:

I used a tinted cream as a base (keep your eye out for that future DIY post: tinted chapstick).

Over this, I used a dome smudge brush and a pointed blending brush to apply two mica powder eye shadow mixes:

A lighter one for my lid,

And a darker one (from this post last week) for the outer edge and crease.

Then I used a detail brush to apply a thin coat of my black iron oxide eyeliner (also in a future post!) along the upper lash line.

I used my arrowroot and mica mix — and another blending brush — to finish off under the eyebrows and the lower lid with some translucent brightness!

I also used a not-homemade mascara on the outer upper lashes, after I curled them (shh, don’t tell!).

Pro Tip for naturally-long-lashed people who wear glasses: even if you don’t wear mascara, try curling your lashes anyway. It helps keep them from brushing against your lenses! I went WAY too long before figuring that out for myself…

This look lasted through my work-day without any big issues. The color migrated a little bit to the folds of skin on the upper lids, but it was only noticeable when I closed my eyes, and the overall appearance was still good.

Hope you have a great weekend!



All The Shiny.

Dear Cyber-Friends,

Nail polish! Mica powder! ALL THE SHINY!

If you follow me on Twitter, then you might have seen a couple phone-photos I posted a while back showing off just how excited I was about combining mica powder with nail polish, and the shiny, shiny results. Now it’s time to tell you how I did it here on the blog, for my DIY Friday post.

Couple of warnings, should you wish to attempt this yourself: mica powder is tiny and easily “poofed”, so take precautions to make sure you don’t breath any; this project is SUPER MESSY.

It also has super fun results, so I definitely recommend trying it! Just make sure you try it somewhere where staining isn’t an issue…

First off, gather your ingredients:


Nail polish, clear or colored.

Any powdered eyeshadow or mica powder.

A plastic bag.


A piece of paper you don’t care about.

Optional: gloves.

If you use clear polish, the color will be only from the powder. If you use colored polish, the powder will give it a new tint and add a LOT of sparkle-goodness. I’ve done both now, and LOVED both results.

For this batch, I used clear polish with a green loose powdered eyeshadow that I never use on my eyes (because the color always came out too dark and muddy when I wore it). I figured a shiny green nail polish would get worn a lot more, and contrast nicely with whatever red/copper/pink shade I used with my eye make-up on any given day.

Step One: Empty the powder into the bag.


(If I’d thought of it at the time, I’d be wearing latex gloves at this point.)


Try and dump it as much in one corner as you can. That will help later on.

Step Two: Cut a small hole in the powder-filled corner of the bag with the scissors.


(By the way, that chipped purple nail polish was made by adding reddish mica powder to a dark purple polish. It’s GORGEOUS!…when it’s not a week old, anyway.)

Step Three: This part is gonna take practice. It’s also gonna get messy. Using the hole in the bag as the small end of a funnel, try and get the powder into the bottle.


You will want to stick the end of the bag slightly INTO the neck of the bottle — this was just out for the photo.

Gentle tapping on the bag helps to get the powder down. You may need the tap the bottom of the bottle against the work-surface to settle the powder, as well, since it won’t mix into the polish yet. Or you could remove some the polish first to make more room — either way seems to work.


Step Four: Once the powder is in the bottle, close it up and shake. Then shake it more. And keep shaking. Admire the pretty swirls of color and glitter. Shake some more. Etc. You want to make sure everything is THOROUGHLY blended.


So pretty! Now keep shaking….


There’s gonna be wasted powder, at least when you’re first getting used to this project. If that bothers you, find another project to use it on afterwards! DIY is fun, and there’s always more ideas to try. Just keep your work-space clean so you can safely gather and reuse the excess from each attempt.


Mixed at last!

I tested it over the old nail polish (feeling lazy, and in a hurry).



When I properly did my nails with it, I discovered that (surprise surprise) adding powder makes the polish dry quicker. Yet it’s also a little runnier while wet. Odd.

And after working three or four days straight at my housekeeping job — not being particularly careful of my nails, and not wearing gloves for most of the tasks — I was quite happy to discover that the powder also seems to help with longevity. Even with no top-coat or base, check out how little chipping there is!


Alright, that’s all this post. Check back tomorrow for an all-homemade make-up look!




Dear Cyber-Friends,

The other night, I made my parents nachos for dinner. My dad was so impressed that he requested we have them once a week from now on.

Luckily, I took pictures of the whole process, which means that not only can I recreate that tasty goodness, I can also share them with you. It was super easy, fast, delicious, and filling! That’s a great combo for a perfect dinner, or even a big lunch.

Here’s my ingredients:


  • Tortilla Chips
  • Cheese
  • Homemade, Homegrown Sausage
  • Onions
  • Green Onions
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Diced Green Chili Peppers
  • Salsa Verde
  • Garlic Powder (not pictured)
  • Cumin Powder (not pictured)

I had re-fried beans out, but decided not to use them. That turned out to be a good call, because we barely finished what I did make. However, if for some reason you decide not to use meat, then the beans will help make it a full meal.

Now, break out a big pizza pan and preheat the oven for 350 (Fahrenheit).

Grate the cheese, chop the veggies, and get a skillet going to cook the sausage and onions. While you wait for the meat to cook, spread the first layer of chips on the pan.


Once the onions and sausage are cooked, season them with the garlic and cumin, and add the diced green peppers. Mix it all together, and then add the bell peppers and the green onions just long enough to them to get heated through.


The key here is to have all the indigents that aren’t chips, cheese, or green sauce already hot, BEFORE melting the cheese in the oven. This helps your nachos to be evenly hot all the way through, with the bonus of the cheese melting faster.

Now start layering: meat-and-veg over the chips, then cheese and green sauce, then more chips, etc.


I did two layers of each. Try and keep the layers even to the edges of the pan. It’ll heat unevenly if there’s a mound in the middle, plus it’s just nice to have a little bit of the goodies on every chip!

Now put the whole thing in the oven. I didn’t time it, just kept an eye on the meltiness of the cheese. I’d say at least 10-15 minutes, maybe longer.


When all the cheese looks melted and is starting to get crispy where it dripped on the pan, it’s time to take it out!

Remember, since all the meat and veg was cooked already, you don’t have to worry about checking the temperature or making sure the middle is hot.

Yay for short-cuts in cooking!


So tasty! And messy! And filling! And delicious! And easy!

(I get excited about yummy food, but with good reason — food is awesome.)

I used two spatulas (one on bottom, one on top) to transfer a third of this to each dinner plate. It worked quite well, actually, which surprised me.

Definitely a successful dinner!



P.S. Leave a comment and tell me: what are some of your favorite combinations for nacho toppings?

Mixing Micas!

Dear Cyber-Friends,

Last week I reviewed the new mica powders I just bought. This week, I’ll show how I used them to come up with a new eyeshadow! If you use mica powders at home, remember this Pro Tip: breathing those tiny particles are bad for lungs — so please take proper precautions, and have fun!

Since I don’t have a lot of extra money, instead of spending more on a make-up pallet for mixing colors, I re-purposed a plastic artist pallet I had around for painting and never used. I cleaned it thoroughly before using, of course.


On the pallet, you can see I have nearly even proportions of four powders: Metallic Pearl Honey Tan (left), Cosmetic Iron Oxide Red (right), Blue Claret Pearl (bottom), and Semi-Matte plain mica (in the middle).

This is what they looked like after careful mixing with the metal spoon — I recommend a lot of “chopping” style mixing to help de-clump the powders without stirring them up into the air much.


I wanted to see what it looked like with a little more of the matte red, and also added some Copper. I mixed the result with arrowroot powder (which you can find in most health food stores — I recommend checking the bulk section).

I’m using arrowroot as a filler for a number of reasons; I have it on hand, I know my skin doesn’t react to it, it’s fairly translucent on the skin so it won’t change the resulting color much, and it helps the mica powder go on smooth and stay longer. I made a primer with the Semi-Matte and arrowroot (half and half). For premixed shadows I use a little less; experiment and see how much you like!

I put the finished product in one of the ten oz jars with a sifter. Pro Tip #2: Make sure you ALWAYS label everything!


When applied, it makes a nice half-matte orange-brown that works for a more subdued daytime look. Here it is with no other make-up on my face, applied with a dome smudge brush:


Pretty, isn’t it!


I’ve got a lot more make-up and skin-care DIY projects to share with you, so come back every Friday for the latest product photos. As a bonus, I’m going to try and add a new make-up look created entirely from my homemade products each week as well, so keep your eye out for that on Saturdays!

Also, I’m going to try and do a media review post (movies, tv, book, etc) every Monday, and a food (cooking, baking, whatever!) post every Wednesday. Check those out too, and enjoy!



So. Many. Photos.

Dear Cyber-Friends,

To kick off the week, I decided I’d give you a photo-filled Creative Day post!

This week, I’ll be showing you how to make a batch of herb-steeped apple cider vinegar (ACV) rinse, which I use instead of a hair conditioner.

To begin, choose which herbs, flowers, and/or spices to use. Internet searches can give you lists and idea of what is good for different types and conditions of hair, so I’ll just show what I picked for this batch:


Calendula. You may have used a calendula salve at some point to sooth itchy skin or rashes. This little flower is great for many uses, hair included.


Chamomile. Probably most commonly known for a relaxing tea, this flower is a standard go-to for most of my mixes because it’s so versatile and beneficial.


Lavender. Like chamomile, this flower has basically endless uses and benefits.


Mint. This is a mix of peppermint and spearmint, actually. Mint, again, has many benefits and can be used in pretty much anything.


Nettle. Perhaps best known as a stinging weed, nettles are actually a highly useful and healthy addition to beauty products, tea, and even cooking. They also happen to be great for hair rinses.


Nutmeg. A great little spice I like to add to many skin and hair care recipes. Plus it smells like Christmas!


Rose petals. Make sure you use ones that still have a rose scent; besides the obvious reason of it smelling better, it means they’re fresher and will still have the beneficial properties of roses. This is actually true for any herbs and spices you acquire. Great for both skin and hair.

Other ingredients I sometimes use for this are green tea, jasmine, cloves, thyme, rosemary, mugwort, or hibiscus.


The amounts of everything you use is completely up to you. My proportions change with each batch because I never bother with measuring for this “recipe”.

If you’re not sure, then I suggest planning to get your container about halfway full with herbs and flower, and either have a 1:1 ratio of everything (except spices, which will be a lot less — as you can see above, I used about a tablespoon of nutmeg).

I tend to up the ratio of flowers, because they tend to be less concentrated than herbs — making it take more to get the same impact — but it depends on the flowers, and on what result you want. In this case, my largest proportions are of nettle, rose, and chamomile; rose because I love the smell, chamomile because it’s soothing and good for dark hair, and nettle because it’s clarifying and also good for dark hair.

Once you have your herbs, flowers, and spices gathered, there’s one more ingredient:


Now you’ll need to steep the herbs in the ACV.

This will require a container; I use a clean mason jar:


Whatever container you use, make sure it’s not metal or plastic; either could react badly to the acid of the vinegar, and ruin the benefits of your potion. Also, choose something wide-mouthed. This will make getting the herbs in and out of it much easier on you.

Speaking of which:


You can use a canning funnel to help prevent messes! Plus, if you do this on a clean, smooth surface, then you can scoop up anything that spills and add it back in.


The jar full of herbs. It’s a little over half full — the last batch I made was about a quarter full. Anything in that range will turn out fine; you can just add time the steeping stage if you’re using a small amount.


Pour ACV over the herbs. Make sure you fill up the container; you don’t want air space left in the jar. I’d suggest stirring or shaking the jar right away to clear out air pockets, especially if you have a lot of herbs. Then you can add more ACV.


Once it’s all put together, all you have to do is shake the jar at least once a day, for at least two weeks. Keep it somewhere you’ll remember about it, but which doesn’t get direct sunlight or too much heat. I have it on an open shelf in my bathroom. Also, you might want to label and/or date the container, especially if you have other similar projects around.

The high acid content of vinegar is a natural preservative , so you don’t have to worry about refrigerating it at this stage — I don’t, and I live in Hawaii where EVERYTHING grows in ways you don’t always want, given the slightest chance.

When the two weeks (or up to a month or more) is over, you’re ready to strain out the herbs. I tend to do it in two stages to make it more manageable.

Step one is to empty the whole jar into something easy to pour from, via a regular colander. This gets the majority of herbs out of the way — which you’ll want to squeeze by hand in the colander, by the way, to get every bit of infused ACV goodness.

Step two is pouring the AVC through a finer stainer into a clean storage container, usually via a funnel to again prevent messes. This can even be the first jar you used for steeping, as long as you rinsed it out while it was empty.

Congratulations, you now have ACV conditioner rinse in concentrate form! This is the best way to store it, especially if you want to make big batches ahead of time.

To use in or after a shower, just mix up a small container — I use a squeeze bottle — with a quarter ACV to three quarters plain water. I scrub it all through my hair and scalp, and usually let it sit for a minute or two before lightly rinsing in warm water. The result is the softest hair ever.