Tag Archives: girly

12 Personal Favorite Beauty Hacks

I’m no beauty maven, but I’m still a girl and still want to look good…and I’m used to finding my own solutions for problems and issues. We all like to find shortcuts and lifehacks, even for girly stuff!

Over the years, I’ve found that all of the following hacks have been my mainstays in helping me look put-together without too much fuss–just the way I like it! Read on to discover the little beauty tricks I use just about every day.

Makeup/Skincare Tricks

My fix for chapped lips:

  1. Apply a medicated lip balm right before you get in the shower.
  2. At the end of your shower, right before you turn the water off, use either a soft toothbrush (or even a little facial scrub) to exfoliate your lips.
  3. Rinse lips off thoroughly with shower water.
  4. Reapply medicated lip balm as soon as you get out of the shower to lock in moisture.

Caught without blush? A little rosy lipstick (matched as closely as possible to your natural flush) on your fingertip, blended onto the apples of your cheeks, works just fine. (I start with a tiny amount, as seen in the bottom picture, and build up color until I get the blush color where I want it.)
When I don’t have any actual contouring powder for my cheeks, I sub in a little bronzer, swept with a fluffy blush brush under my cheekbones. (Be careful not to apply too much–you’ll end up with a dirty-looking face if you’re too generous with the bronzer! LOL)
I use a facial scrub once a week, but I do it in the shower, right at the end when the water’s a little cooler, my skin is softened, and my pores are more open–and my skin glows even the next day! (Usually, I follow it up with the moisturizer tip below for even better results. 🙂 )
Want to moisturize your face even better? Don’t let all the steam escape from the bathroom right after your shower. You can use all that steam and heat to help moisturizer sink in even better.

I usually dry off my face a little, then apply the moisturizer and let it absorb while I dry the rest of me. (This is best done after you’ve put your hair up and out of the way, so you don’t grease up your hair accidentally. Speaking from experience here.)

When I want to subtly highlight my eyelids, I use a metallic cream eyeshadow, applied with my fingertip directly on my bare eyelid. The cream formula warms up and spreads easier with body heat, and it looks more dimensional and pretty instead of glaringly obvious.

I use the two eyeshadow palettes above to mix my own eyeshadow shades when I want to try a new color, or I just want to match my eyeshadow to my clothing.

Some shades I’ve made:

  • Pale blue (sapphire blue + white)
  • Forest green (lime green + bit of teal + black)
  • Silvery pink (burgundy + white + bit of gray)
  • Copper (orange + burgundy)
  • Lavender (sapphire blue + burgundy + white)

Hair Tricks

If you’re like me and can never get the conditioner distributed through your hair right, a conditioner/water mix in a spray bottle might be just the thing for you. I mixed up about 2 parts conditioner and 1 part water into a spray bottle, seen at left; I spritz the mixture into my palm and rub it onto the ends of my hair for easier/less heavy application. (You can also spray it directly into your hair if you trust your aim–I don’t trust mine. xD)

I find that if I match my shampoo and conditioner to the time of year and weather conditions, I end up with a better-looking head of hair right from the shower. In the summer, or in more humid conditions, I choose lighter-weight shampoos (top left picture) and use conditioner more sparingly, just at the ends. In the winter/drier conditions, I choose creamier shampoos (bottom left picture) and use conditioner from the midlength to the ends of my hair.

To tailor my shampoo to my hair’s daily needs, I become something of a shower chemist. (LOL) If my hair needs more cleaning power (say, after a workout), I’ll mix my regular shampoo with a bit of clarifying shampoo (top left picture). But if my hair needs a bit of TLC due to weather outside or hard styling the day before, I mix in a little conditioner instead (bottom left picture).

This really seems to help–it makes both the drying and styling process much easier, and my hair feels better to the touch throughout the day.

As a girl with very sleek, very flat straight hair, static and flyaways are a huge problem for me, especially in the dry wintertime–I can’t wear anything on my head without my hair clinging to it like a creepy ex. (It always seems to happen most when I’m nowhere near any styling cream or anything, too!)

To calm my needy hair down when there’s no mousse in sight, I use just a tiny, tiny bit of light hand lotion; I rub my hands together briskly to distribute the product, and then lightly glide my hands over my hair.

I’m not vain about much when it comes to beauty, but I am concerned about doing my hair lasting heat damage. One trick I’ve found is to dry my hair mostly using the “low” setting on my hair dryer–I only blast the fastest hot air for 1-2 minutes, and I only use that setting for the spots that take the longest to dry (for me, that’s the sides and back of my head). This seems to help my hair look shinier when dry, as well as less damaged in the long run.

The Massive Beauty-Product Purge

I’ll admit it, I’m an OCD hoarder. If you could see my bedroom…well, maybe it’s best if I don’t post such traumatizing, disturbing pictures of disorganization and junk stacks on the Internet. (LOL) And besides notebooks, scraps of paper, and purses, I have also hoarded beauty products most of my life. Hey, having it at home is better than having to go out and buy it, right?

…WRONG. When your bathroom countertops overflow into the sink and onto the floor on a regular basis, and the under-sink cabinets are stuffed full of products whose bottles have ruptured and/or otherwise leaked, you know you’re in trouble.

Yet I let it lie like this for years, stymied, paralyzed. I couldn’t do anything with the junk, even the junk I KNEW was junk, because…well, if I got rid of it, and then I needed it later, I’d have to go out and re-buy it. Torture.

The Breaking Point

The stalemate between me and the growing mess finally broke one spring afternoon in 2011, when I was, ahem, otherwise occupied in the bathroom and had nothing better to do than to stare at the mess covering the countertops.

As I watched, a series of large perfume bottles (Bath and Body Works-sized) slid slowly into the sink, piling up on top of each other like a fragrance avalanche. The noise and rumbling of the perfume bottles set off a couple of smaller avalanches of facial wipes boxes, soap containers, and shampoo bottles, cascading into the floor like so many mountain boulders.

My first instinctive thought was, “…REALLY?” I’d dealt with the mess associated with hoarding most of my life, but I’d never seen a mess move on its own, not like this, anyway.

This had to stop. It was no longer just an innocuous pile on countertops, but a threatening mass that was making it impossible for me to use my own bathroom space, let alone anybody who dared to come into the house. This…HAD to stop. It was beauty-product madness.

The War Begins

My first volley in the war on beauty clutter was to rid myself of all the obviously expired products–all the stuff that had mold growing on it, had exploded, or was otherwise unsuitable for putting on my face or body anymore.

My awesome boyfriend proved his love ten times over by helping me with all of it, since it hurts a lot for me to squat down and/or stand in one place for very long. (He is awesome, focused, logical man, especially when this little bird gets overtired and cranky.) Together, we unloaded the overstuffed cabinets into trash bag after trash bag, discovering the following gems in the process:

  • a can of prehistoric hair spray (kidding–it was only from 1996…I think)
  • several crushed shower gel bottles
  • dozens and dozens of dusty, gummy little-girl hair scrunchies
  • more sanitary pads than the world’s women will ever need
  • three cream-to-powder foundation palettes which had some kind of horrible splotchy mold on them
  • a hoard of toothpaste tubes, which were keeping one of the cabinet drawers from opening AND closing
  • a vial of liquid foundation that was literally puke-green in color. It used to be the color of my face, about ten years ago.
  • one shampoo bottle that had apparently become volatile and EXPLODED, leaving green slime all over most of the cabinet’s inventory
  • a can of brown spray paint that had somehow “eaten” itself and rusted almost completely away. (We were both like, “WHAT is this BROWN POWDER in this CABINET?!” And the smell…*UGH*)

The Hardest Part: Purging What Was “Still Good”

Once we got rid of the obvious trash, which was fairly easy, I faced the largest obstacle: getting rid of stuff that still had life in it, was still usable.

For me, getting rid of still-usable stuff is hard, because I look at the pile of stuff I’m getting rid of and think “wasted money.” It makes me literally sick to think of all the dollars going out the door in trash bags. Thus, another reason why I hoard, I guess.

I started having real trouble with it, was almost too daunted to keep going, until my boyfriend said, “Honestly, honey, how long has it been since you used it? If it makes you happier to keep it, please go ahead–but this doesn’t look like it’s been touched in years.”

My instant argument back was, “Well, I would have used it if I could have FOUND it in this mess!”

“True,” he replied, “but do you have anything that does exactly the same function?”

He had a point. In some cases, I did have something (or several somethings) that fulfilled exactly the same function (like the 7 nail clippers–I wish that was a jest). Knowing that part of my junk problem lay in having multiple copies of the same item was an important key in getting over my attachment to the items I’d bought.

In the case of the nail clippers, I kept 3 of the 7, because one was a specific, larger toenail clipper, one was regular nail clippers, and one was an itty-bitty nail clipper/file combo that I put into my purse. The other 4 went away–2 got given away, and 2, we found, were irreparably broken/rusted anyway, so they were trashed.

Systematically, we hunted through all the stuff. Endless iterations of Night-Blooming Jasmine shower gel and perfume (which I stockpiled because B&BW only offers it twice a year), 10 different Clinique compacts of pressed powder, literal hundreds of lip glosses…all were evaluated, condensed, and the excess removed. (We found that 4 of the jasmine perfume bottles were all just alcohol anyway…no fragrance smell remained. SAD)

The Aftermath

By the time the organizing carnage was (mostly) over, my bathroom cabinets were cleared; their interiors were empty and dusted out, left to air out overnight after long years of being shut away in shame. The countertops were also cleaned and polished up, and new systems of organization went into place atop them, showcasing my jewelry, my fragrance bottles, and my impressive scrunchie collection (hey, I grew up in the 90s, all right?). I also FINALLY had a place for all my makeup–at least, what remained of the huge collection I had (but more about that later).

At last, after years of getting ready (somehow) amid a torrent of products, my bathroom had become a true lady’s dressing room and ablutions room. I finally had room for everything, and everything that I had was stuff I was really going to use and really enjoyed, from shampoos and conditioners to fragrances, from powders to lipsticks and everything in between.

Next Week: The Makeup Survivors

Next week, I’m going to show what remains of the massive collection of old makeup we cleaned out. I went from several LARGE zippered bags of makeup to two tiny drawers-full in a five-drawer countertop organizer…unbelievable as it sounds!

Bride Hair Dresser Game

As one of the only good, true hairdressing games I’ve ever played, Bride Hair Dresser stands out. I was so distressed when the site I had been playing it on apparently closed down, taking this game with it–so I was very happy to find a mirror copy on another site.

Let me take you through it and show you all the imaginative fun you can have with this great Flash game. (Also, it doubles as a way to plan and play with your own wedding hairstyle without having to set foot in a salon first. Woot!)

Basic Gameplay

You start out with a virtual model with long hair, which you can style in thousands of different ways.

Off to the right is your hairstyling stand, with all the tools of the trade at your disposal.

The scissors cut one lock at a time at predetermined lengths; the curlers create spiraled ringlet curls on each lock. The pink bobby pins create a neat topknot-style bun (click multiple times to get more of the hair included into the bun), while the multicolored clips create a messier bun look (again, click multiple times to include more hair in the bun).

The sparkle spray gives a swirling array of glitter all around the model’s head; the dryer blasts the sparkle spray away if you don’t like it. The brush is a complete “Undo” button, taking you back to the default look, and the flatiron gets rid of curls, pins, and clips (but not sparkles, or the cuts you made to the hair).

Lastly, the bottles of color at the bottom of your hairstyling stand lend your model totally different looks–from vampy dark to cotton-candy pink! (By the way, the orange bottle on far right is the default color.)

Simple Styling

You can curl all her hair (including the bangs) with the curlers…

Or you can put it all up into a topknot bun with the bobby pins…

…or even style it all into a messy bun with the clips.

And yes, you can even cut most of her hair off into this pixie-ish ‘do if you like!

Combining Two or More Styling Tools

You can put the four outermost locks into a bun, cut the two remaining locks shorter, and then curl them, for a tidy and perfect look…

…or you can go crazy and curl that short pixie style into this mess of curls…(this look is so much fun!)

…and even combine clips and curls for this more organic look.

Examples of Color

Deep brown, a little shorter, curled and darkly sparkly! (The sparkles come out as different colors depending on the color of the hair.)

Bright green with teal sparkles sets off a neat bobby-pin bun and tiny ringlets curled just behind the ears.

Cutesy purple (sparkly) hair and messy bun, with long curls at the front added for an extra touch of glam.

And Don’t Forget Accessories!

This white/yellow flower veil works well for most “down” hairstyles, but not topknots or messy buns ’cause it gets in the way.

This veil doesn’t get in the way of the higher hairstyles, and it seems to work well for just about every type of style you can create (though it won’t go with every hair color…)

Truly an accessory that works with all the various heights and colors of hair you can get.

This works best with “down” styles as well…and something that isn’t bright green or neon yellow. LOL!

Pretty silverish pearls… ^_^

Silver drop-style jewelry…very delicate!

And to echo the bouquet, flower earrings and a necklace. 🙂

A Mini-Lookbook

Pretty in cotton-candy pink ringlet curls and matching pink veil.

Multi-level teal curls with a tidy bun and white-flowered veil.

Messy red bun with short choppy layers below, and only a bit of flowery jewelry.

Play the Game:

Bride Hair Dresser

(P.S. Happy birthday to me! ^_^)

My Style In Pictures

With the advent of Pinterest, we all find it easier than ever to describe our personal styles through pictures. As a plus-sized, partially disabled young woman, I can’t always wear or create all the things I pin (and who can? LOL!), but I’m still drawn to certain fashions, makeup looks, and hairstyles. Thus, my Pinterest boards have become both a realistic portrayal of my personal taste as well as a fantasyland of things I’d love to wear.

Scroll down and see key elements of my style (which I call “Comfortably Classy)! (You can click on the pictures to see these pictures on Pinterest, too!)


longcenterpart headbandandroll auburnwaterfall
clawclip braidandbun bigwaves
sweptup highbun longsmoothhair

Makeup/Beauty Looks

oldhollywood naturalblush
contouredglowingskin darkstunning
smokyeyeredlip ombreliner


filigreedrop swirlingtear pearldiamondstuds
doubleinfinity fairynecklace crownring


offtheshouldertop longjeans blackpencilskirt
boatneckdress ladylovesongdress blueskirt
capelet bellsleevedress pedalpushers


jeweledflipflops anklestrapballetflats
wedgeheel ankleboots


See More!

You can find even more examples of my style (plus a ton of life hacks, organization and decor ideas, health tips, etc.) over at my Pinterest!

“Swan Lake” Dressup Games

Today, I’ll profile one of my old favorite dressup games, which is no longer online but deserves a shoutout nonetheless.

“Swan Lake Dressup” was made by PuterDolls, and became an instant favorite when I discovered it on the Internet way back in 2005-2006. Offering graceful, pretty, well-drawn ballet-style clothes in a range of colors, plus pretty hair accessories, Swan Lake Dressup is a game I wish I could play again.

Basic Gameplay

You could click and drag the clothes you wanted onto the virtual Odette, even changing the basic white leotard. Other hairstyles and hair accessories were accessible by clicking the range of little headshot pictures up at the top of the page.

You could pretty much create any look you wanted–check out my small sample of looks, below:

Some Example Looks

  • Pale blue leotard
  • Long white tutu
  • White tights
  • Pale blue slippers

  • Pink leotard
  • No slippers

  • Brown leotard
  • Short white tutu
  • Sheer tights
  • Dark brown slippers

  • Long blue dress
  • Pale blue slippers
  • Delicate headband

Similar Games to Try

Though this game may be gone, you can try these:

Both these games have been personally tested and at least give some of the same graceful ballet feel. 🙂

Reader Question: Do You Know What Happened to PuterDolls?

In trying to find Swan Lake Dressup, I found that a Blogger website using the name “PuterDolls” was being run as of 2012, but it didn’t seem to be associated with actual game-making–more just game advertising. (Thus, why I didn’t link it here.) Nothing much came up otherwise, not even many pages into a Google search.

Do you know what became of this game website and where its awesome creators might be posting creative work on the Internet these days? If you do, please tell me in the comments! 🙂