Monday, July 27, 2015

Happy Birthday to Me!

Yes, I skipped an official blog post today because it was my birthday and instead I spent the day eating lots of yummy food and enjoying my family.

Also a mosquito bit me on the palm of my right hand and never before have I known such torment. Well, the wasp sting last year was pretty awful, but that was more agony, less annoyance.

Also tomorrow I get more Life is Strange which means I may never sleep again because I stress out more about the decisions in this game than I do about things that happen in my real life. I consider this episode to be a birthday gift just for me.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Before Going to the Hair Salon

Is it normal to think your hair stylist is cooler than you, knows you are a nerd, and is secretly embarrassed for you because you're trying too hard to look normal?


Okay then.

I am going to a new hair stylist because Brittany the Wonder Stylist moved to Florida and left me forever, which makes me sad. The new hair stylist does the hair of everyone cool that I know, so she is going to be awesome, meaning I am ever so slightly afraid of her. Okay, a lot afraid of her. But that's normal for me when I'm around the sort of people who are stylish enough that I would have hidden from them in high school. (I hid from almost everyone in high school.)

I also have a bulge on one of my car's tires, which sucks. I guess new tires get to come before a recharged air conditioning. Pretty soon, I won't even need the air conditioning anymore.

Hey--does that mean the stuff they use to make your air conditioning actually cold will be cheaper? Because if that's true, I don't mind waiting.

In other news, I decided to try an outfit I found on Pinterest and this is how it looked.

Please ignore the blanket behind me. I certainly did.

Other people said I didn't look like a freak, so I am calling it a fashion success. Also I love my new boots. They are super comfortable. Also super adorable.

That is all.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Random on a Wednesday

I can't think of anything exciting to tell you, so today involves general updates.

  1. I have been playing Life Is Strange, which is basically like one of those Choose Your Own Adventure books from my childhood, only a video game and with a lot more swear words. It is both annoying and addictive. If you are a fan of Twin Peaks, this is the game for you. I mean, it is all sorts of Twin Peaks. With a hint of The X-Files thrown in. But yeah, Twin Peaks.
  2. I read an awesome book, Uprooted by Naomi Novik. You need to read it.
  3. I cannot wait for the final Tiffany Aching book, out in September. I will miss new Terry Pratchett novels (and we will all miss Terry Pratchett and his awesomeness), but at least we get one more Tiffany Aching!
  4. My wrist secretly hates me, so I have to wear a brace in hope that the freakishness will go away before I have to have a giant needle stuck into it.
  5. My birthday is on Monday. I took the day off, and less than a week out, I still have no idea what I want to do for fun with that free time...maybe the zoo.

Monday, July 20, 2015


There are some days when one cup of tea is entirely too little tea to see me through the morning, and today is one of those mornings.

It began yesterday when I made sponge cake and also pastry cream and then the recipe said wait two hours before the next part of this recipe, and I thought okay, sure, and then I sat down and the next thing I knew I was waking up from an unnecessary two hour nap.

Then I had dinner and did my laundry and went on with my day, all the while knowing what horror would await me, and then I tried to sleep, and I couldn't fall asleep until one. Then I heard Dad moving around while he was getting ready to see Dr. Liver (not his real name), and I "woke up" but did not open my eyes because they were already open. And now I have decided I was sleeping with my eyes open, which is creepy. And drying.

And I tried to really fall back asleep, but I am not sure I was entirely successful. I mean, I could have fallen back to sleep. But I can't tell. All I know is that my eyes are super dry and there is just no way there is enough tea to compensate for the lack of sleep that happened last night. And there are children in the world, children that will come to the library, and I'm thinking I will have to take some tea to drink at work, because life just isn't working today.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Simply Irresistable

For a year, at least, I've been looking for a pair of black ankle boots. I don't really own black shoes, except for ballet flats. Mostly I have shoes in various shades of grey and brown. This became all the more obvious when I organized my closet last month and discovered that yes, I filled an entire 10 x 10" box with grey shoes. Only grey shoes.

Sure, I like grey. Grey is awesome. I own LOTS of grey. But sometimes the grey shoes don't match what you're trying to wear, and you end up wearing black ballet flats to a funeral in midwinter.

True story.

I wanted black boots so I could pair them with dresses, jeans, and even work pants. I figured in the fall, I could even use them with socks and tights. Or just tights. Something like that. So I wanted a boot, but not a tall boot. An ankle boot would be perfect.

They could have no heel, because those are a pain at the library when I'm on my feet for most of the day, and dangerous when toddlers are crawling / running around while I'm walking. I'm always terrified I'll pinch little fingers or toes!

I started watching Claire Marshall on YouTube, and the need for black boots suddenly became more urgent. Claire's style is very different from mine (I tend to veer toward lots of color and can't deal with any holes in my jeans because then they aren't symmetrical--go ahead, laugh), and she always looks amazing. Her shoe collection is out of this world. She has a whole shelving unit of boots. If that isn't living the dream, I don't know what is.
Perfection in shoe form.

I expanded the hunt for boots, finally deciding on this pair, the Basel Flat Bootie, by Lucky Brand. I figured I'd wait a while and order them for the fall. Like, in August or something. Maybe September. I mean, summer doesn't currently exist in Indiana, but I'm still TRYING to wear sandals and summery shoes.

Then Jennifer and I ended up in Fort Wayne over the weekend, and I went to Von Maur, home of all beautiful shoes, and they had the java suede version of the boots in question. Okay. Well, this was kismet.

I have freakishly narrow feet, so I made Jennifer wait while I tried them on, just to see what size I WOULD order, when the time was right. And Jennifer liked them. And I loved them. They fit beautifully, and they felt comfortable. The zippers didn't jingle when I walked, which was vitally important for some reason. And I ordered the black pair on my cell phone in the passenger seat of her car on the drive home.

(I'm thinking of them as a birthday present to myself--my birthday is at the end of the month...)

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Planner Video

Jennifer wanted me to make a planner video as part of the Planner Tag she's doing. Basically, she tagged me. I suck big time at videos, mostly because I can't hold a camera still for love or money, and nothing I have can upload to YouTube decently, so I have to make the videos on my computer.

Also I made this one holding my phone the wrong direction, but instead of redoing it, here it is. I am that invested in doing this.

I have a medium sized kikki.K time planner. It is made of awesome. I fill it with all the coolest Asian stationary money can buy, which is a LOT. I like making my planner a bit more bright and colorful than a grown-up probably should, mostly because otherwise, I wouldn't use it at all.

Here's a link to the Pinterest board I mentioned.

I suck at tags, so here are the answers to the questions, written so I don't sound like an idiot:

  1. I bought it. 
  2. It's a kikki.K.
  3. I have tried nothing else since the tiny thing they gave us for free in high school. I used that to draw in, not to record things.
  4. My hole punch.
  5. Leave your planner where you can't ignore it, and make sure it's big enough to see but small enough to be easily portable. So, trade paperback size, approximately.

Choosing the kikki.K was a big deal for me, because I had so many things on a giant list that the planner had to be in order for me to want it. It had to be small enough to carry, with REAL leather, because vegan leather is PLASTIC, and while I support the vegan way of doing things, I'm not spending over $15.00 for anything made of plastic, no matter how nicely it is painted by machines to look leatheresque. I wanted something that wouldn't fall apart instantly--plastic does that.

I also wanted a fun color. The only planner colors most companies mass produce? Black, brown, red. RED. That is supposed to be for the people that are fun. Fun people? Red. They'll love it. Make a thousand.

Red is stupid. Better dead than red! And black is boring, brown is meh, I wanted something fun, so I'd notice it and use it.

I loved the idea of a Filofax, but those things are SO EXPENSIVE, and since I also wanted to pay my bills and eat food, I needed something less wallet-crushing. It really helped that I bought my planner when they were discontinuing the style. They knocked enough off the price that it was affordable--especially after I joined the kikki.K mailing list and got another coupon.

I am not really obsessive about the page design. I like pretty pages, so I make them that way myself with loads of washi tape, stickers, and stamps. I make my own stickers by printing on sticker paper. I noticed that, unless you have the capability to print on custom-sized paper, it's very hard to cut the excess paper off exactly. I want my pages to all be identically positioned, and not being able to ensure that I wouldn't have .05 mm of extra space at the top of one page than on the made my OCD self insane, so I gave up.

I know. I have a problem.

I would have to special order pre-printed and cut pages from an Etsy shop to make custom pages work for me. Or pay to have my pages printed. It's easier just to use stickers and sticky notes.

If you want to read more about how I chose my planner, I wrote about it here.

So now I'm tagging whoever wants to join in! Consider yourself tagged.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Wall Hanging DIY

Last year, I was watching Essie Button videos, and in the back of Estee's April Beauty Favourites video, I saw a banner. It says, "It's OK."

See it?

I loved it. I thought, "This is perfect for me, with all the anxiety I deal with. A banner I can look at to remind myself that really, it's OK." So I Googled it and found a picture. I am crafty, so I thought I could make something similar myself using the close-up picture I saw on Google Images.

 So on Sunday afternoon, that's what I did.

I'm so happy with the way it turned out! It means I'm one step closer to having this room finished the way I want it.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Finished Bedroom Tour!

This has been a long process. To read all about it, here are the previous posts: here's the first and here's the second and here's the third and earlier this week, the fourth

How about a quick room tour? We can do that now, because I'm all done!

You've seen the headboard in my last post. Here is the trim I installed with the fancy curtains.

New carpet.

Plants, which are ALIVE. Did I mention how alive they are? They are alive.

The bowl the aloe is inside is repurposed--it was once a Paddywax candle. I cleaned out the wax, washed it, and settled Phil, the aloe, inside. The succulent (what sort of succulent is this, do you know?) is inside a votive holder I picked up at T.J. Maxx. I painted a boring $.97 pot rose gold, popped it inside the votive holder, and then potted the plant inside it. I rescued this little guy from a CVS. He was on display in a flat of other cacti and succulents, all of which were dead. He was the sole survivor. That was sad, so I gave him a home.

Bookcase, well-stocked.

Whale bookends because reasons. (This is where the artsy books I mentioned in my July Small Goals post will go.)

This tray was in my gran's house. She used it to hold her perfumes. I kept the perfume and the tray, because I love the look. I added a few perfume bottles of my own (from back when I could still use perfume) and my Wedgewood. The beetle is a brooch that also belonged to Gran. I'm waiting for the right jacket to come along so I have a place to pin it!

Closet mirror, allowing me to take ridiculous outfit photos whenever I please.

Dresser with my owl makeup pot, funky clock, and invisible bookshelves to hold Harry Potter books--because those should always look magical.

Newly-sorted cabinet in my dresser, allowing all the lip color to be within reach at all times.

And there you go.

I'm on the hunt for an ottoman or bench for the foot of the bed, so that I have somewhere to tuck an extra blanket in the winter. I've got tiny frames to fill with tiny art or photographs, and I've got a plan for a wall hanging that I need to pick up supplies for later on, when the crafting mood strikes me again.

Thursday, July 9, 2015


Disqus did not work. DID NOT WORK.

I decided after less than 24 hours that Disqus did not care enough about the Blogger import issue, due to their various responses on their own forums when people brought up the issue.

I would love to use it...simply because I feel like that would make it easier for us to have better conversations in the comments. But seriously, I cannot deal with losing everything you guys have shared with me during the whole time I've done this blog.

So, never mind that change thing. At least for now!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Ten Holy Grail Beauty Products

Nicole did a post a while ago of the ten products she can't live without. (Click the link to read hers!) While I am SO LATE to the party, I decided I would do the same thing. I made this decision this morning when I was doing my makeup and looked down to see that my makeup was perfectly arranged for an Instagram picture. Who am I to turn down the perfect opportunity for Instagram?

So here they are, my ten holy grail beauty products:

1. Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush. This is not a lie, it really is a 12-hour blush. It does not rub off, wipe off, or wear off, even with incredibly oily skin. The color payout is fantastic. The blushes last forever. I've had the shade Fearless for over a year, and recently I bought a second, Blushing Bride, just to have a different shade. I would have every color of these, because they're just that great. Did I mention I pitched* my other blushes after one week of using this? Because I did.

2. Naked Basics Palette. I have the first one, but I also love the colors in the second one. I think when I replace mine (I've hit pan on two colors and almost on a third), I'll try the second one. I am big into using neutral brown shadows, and let's face it, that's what the Naked Basics palette contain. The color payout is (again) fantastic--noticing a theme?--and the shadows aren't too powdery to work with easily.

3. Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Foundation.** This lasts all day, matches my INCREDIBLY pale skin, doesn't break me out, and covers imperfections beautifully. This is the summer-Laura shade (Light Sand); I learned this winter that I'll need to go a bit lighter in January.

4. Maybelline Eye Studio Color Tattoo in Bad to the Bronze. This is a new purchase for me, but I've worn it every day since I bought it. It's absolutely fantastic, never budges, and I love using it with the darker shades in my Naked Basics palette. I need a dozen other colors.

5. Lavanilla. I'm listing the whole brand even though that's cheating. I use their deodorant, their body butter, their sunscreen, their perfume...I love the whole brand. I'm not allergic to anything they make. The vanilla fragrance isn't overly juvenile or sweet. It's more of a grown-up vanilla scent, and I would marry the brand and have its babies if that were physically possible. Sadly, it's not.

6. LUSH Sympathy for the Skin. This lotion is fantastic. It makes your skin smell amazing and--you guessed it--it's safe for allergy-sufferer Laura to use. It is a great everyday body lotion. Love. Love. Love.

7. Kiehl's Midnight Recover Concentrate. This rescued my incredibly dehydrated skin this winter. Now that it's summer, I've needed it less. I love how it makes my skin feel, and it helps my skin bounce back from breakouts without weeks of hyperpigmentation. It's pricey, but one of the small bottles has lasted me since November--and I'm not even halfway through it.

8. LUSH Honey I Washed the Kids. The best smelling soap ever made. I am never without this.

9. LUSH Love Juicy Shampoo. This is incredibly clarifying and brilliant for someone living with fine hair and hard water. It gets all the product buildup out of my hair. I ALWAYS pair this with a conditioner, because you do want a conditioner with any shampoo that is this clarifying. Someone with less water problems might find this too much to use more than once a week, but it's wonderful for our water.

10. Kiehl's LIP BALM #1. This is the best lip balm ever made, hands down. THE BEST EVER. Throw away all other lip balms and buy this.

So there you go. My favorite products I'd take with me if the zombie apocalypse went down and I still wanted to look pretty. Even though I would look prettier than the zombies, even without any makeup on, so I don't know who I'd be trying to impress. But maybe I'd meet a nice zombie hunter, or be clinging to what little sense of normalcy I had left, or maybe the library would stay open during the zombie apocalypse, so I'd still have to go to work and look alive. No pun intended.

Needless to say, no one gave me free stuff or paid me to put any of these products on my list, I just really love them. Although I would not turn down free stuff, I am a librarian and we don't make the big bucks. Also I like free stuff. Who doesn't like free stuff?

I didn't list conditioner, mascara, concealer, or lip colors because I'm not monogamous with those. I try a different mascara every time I pick one up. I'm still trying to find the right concealer for my skin tone, and I really want a full-coverage one, which makes it even harder to find for me. I use lightweight conditioners, right now I'm using one in the Clear range, but I'm not 100% obsessed with it. I would try others. And I am a lipstick junkie, so I can't tell you, "This is my signature color!" because that changes every day. There are so many lip products in my purse at any given time, it's a bit embarrassing. Last count, there were 12.

* Not wanting to waste anything, I cleaned them with a bit of rubbing alcohol and handed them to Mum, who used them for a while until she tried my Tarte blush, pitched them and went to buy her own Tarte blush. We are a Tarte blush house now.

** Yes, this has SPF, but not the chemical I'm allergic to, so if you're sensitive to foundations with SPF for the same reason I am, you're safe.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Operation Headboard Not-Quite-Tutorial

One last step in the bedroom redo--the headboard. If you want to read the previous posts, here's the first and here's the second and here's the third. Before I get started, I'll tell you--this could not have happened without the wonderful world of Pinterest. If you want to get started making your own headboard, check out all of these options for inspiration. Because there are so many awesome tutorials already out there, this isn't really a tutorial.

Operation Headboard victory picture.

I've been intending to work on this for ages, but I've been held back by the lack of actual tools at our house. I needed a jigsaw or a scroll saw or some other kind of saw to help me cut a shape out of a board. I was bemoaning the lack of equipment at work one afternoon and my coworker volunteered her husband to help me out. Naturally, I sprang at the chance to get the board cut. I brought it in the next day and by that afternoon, I had my piece of plywood cut to the right shape.

I spent that Friday getting fabric samples. I ended up with three options, but I didn't want to purchase before my new carpet came. I thought it would be too easy to pick the color that went best with the walls or with the quilt on the bed and end up with something that didn't work with the carpet. Some of you might remember that I'd already bought fabric for the headboard...well, it didn't work anymore. I had picked it out before I painted the room a different color, before I picked out carpet, and before I'd changed the curtains. The new room did NOT work with the brown fabric. I needed a natural, off-white fabric or possibly a grey. Brown wasn't going to cut it. That fabric will have to be used differently somehow in the future.

I waited for the carpet to arrive and settled on an off-white fabric with random metallic threads woven through it. They aren't noticeable from far away, but up close, they give it a sort of sheen I like. I bought the fabric and added it to the stack of other stuff I have ready for headboard construction.

Holy crap, folks. The math. I had no idea that math would be a thing. It was geometry gone mad. But I got it done. It doesn't even suck! Everything is even and nice and measured well, and it looks like someone not-me did it. This was the tutorial I found that helped with the mathing, because they said the word "diagonal" and suddenly everything made sense.

I drilled some holes for buttons, and only hurt myself a little bit! Splinters. They suck.

Then I cut my foam to the shape of the headboard. It was thrilling. I used spray adhesive to keep it from moving around. The fumes are noxious, so if you use it, spray it outside so you don't die horribly. You have to DRENCH the surface in spray adhesive and then sit on the foam for a while to make sure it sticks. Our entire basement floor became sticky, but it dries eventually. Just never use this stuff on a surface you don't want to permanently coat in spray adhesive...

I used a wicked tool to carve out a dent where the drill holes were, so the buttons could happily nestle inside them and make my life easier later.

The foam then got covered with batting and stapled in place.

I am sure there is some logical way or method to trimming fabric to go around curved pieces of wood. I said, forget learning that, I can Science. No folds, perfect edge, see? Science.

Then I covered buttons with my fabric. I'm pretty relieved that now the headboard is finished, you can't even tell that the button covering kit I picked up at Hobby Lobby was a piece of crap. Listen. I hate Hobby Lobby. They were the only craft store option in the area and ordering online would have set back Operation Headboard another week. So I gritted my teeth and went inside.

Hobby Lobby only sells Sewology products. Needles, button covering kits, thimbles...all of it is Sewology. There is no other option. If Sewology did not SUCK. this wouldn't matter so much. But it DOES suck. It sucks big time. It professionally sucks. Instead of plastic and metal, it is built in the factory out of suck.

To cover a button, you cut a circle using the (too big) pattern on the button blank package. Then you put the fabric face down over the silicone (white) piece, press the button front piece  down into the silicone, stretching the fabric around it. Then you fold in the excess fabric, lay the metal button back on top, then use the blue plastic piece to easily (hysterical laughter) press it into the button front.

Sewology's kit makes this IMPOSSIBLE. The back will not press into the front using the kit pieces provided, unless you do what I did, which was place a hot pad over the blue piece and use a hammer to pound the button back into the front. This eventually (I know you're shocked) crushed the blue plastic piece beyond use.

This turned out to be not such a big deal, because, while I purchased 15 button blanks, I only got 12 backs in my SEALED kits from Sewology. It was a good thing I only needed 12 buttons. I'll have to buy more blanks--from a different company AND a different store--if I ever need an additional button.

See? Look at how cute. Aren't they cute?

Then we were ready for fabric and button threading.

And lots of stapling. This was not entertaining, folks.

The headboard could either be propped against the wall (nope), hung on the wall (maybe) or mounted on the bed frame (umm?). I went to the hardware store and asked them. They told me my best bet was something called a French cleat.

So, on Sunday, I finished the whole project by hanging the headboard on the wall. And here we are!

This process was not as hideous as I thought it would be, but I'm still glad I put it off for two years. Imagine if I'd finished the room and found my headboard didn't work in the space anymore! Now I can use this forever. Or at least until I move and get a different bed, whenever that happens. But when that day comes, Mum can have a headboard to use with that room for as long as she likes. I call that a victory.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

July Small Goals!

Here's what I made happen this month:

1. Finish redoing my bedroom. This is a victory because the carpet is in, the walls are painted, the closet is done (and I've moved back into it), and the full-length mirror is hung up! I'll show off the finished headboard very soon...

2. Go back to the gym. *hysterical laughter* I went on an ill-fated bike ride that led to my whole ankle growing a new I've been avoiding running so I don't re-injure it. Also I've been building a headboard in my spare time. I haven't had much spare time left!

3. Be nice to myself. I've been better at this. It will be an ongoing struggle, I think. I've kept up with Headspace, too!

4. Go to a movie at the drive-in. Heh. Nope.

5. Sort through and donate clothes. This was a win. I still need to go through winter clothes (I put them away for summer without looking at them much), but spring/summer is done!

Well. I managed three of the five. That's...something. It is only my first month doing this, so I'm cutting my Type A-self some slack. And here's what I'm planning for July...

1. Celebrate my mother's birthday (and mine). This means shopping for a present for Mum and arranging a fun celebration for her. Also sitting back and letting other people do that for me, which I am okay with.

2. GO BACK TO THE GYM. That is all.

3. Buy some more art / art supplies for my gallery wall. Crafting needs to happen to finish my wall decor, but I'm not making everything. I'm planning to spend some time on Society6 to round off the gallery wall!

4. Go to a movie at the drive-in. Seriously though.

5. Sift through all the cosmetics and skin care I have accumulated, and pare that collection WAY down. I have too much stuff. Birchbox made my collection huge, and most of it is tiny samples. I need to use those samples up or send them packing. No one needs this much stuff.

6. Pick out some fancy-looking classics, then buy them. Yes. You read that right, I get to have to buy books. I have fancy bookends. And they need fancy books to go between them to make ART. I'm thinking some of these or these.