Monday, September 30, 2013

Mini DIY/Up-cycle Project

I have had the idea for this project since our wedding last year & somehow I only started & finished it in the last 48 hours. It is crazy how simple it was & totally ridiculous how long it took me to just DO IT! I'm considering doing a series of posts like this with a bunch of different mini DIY & up-cycling projects, easy little crafts & such that you can complete in a weekend or less. Let's face it, most of us are busy little bees with limited amounts of time to complete our laundry let alone an entire DIY project. :) Do you want to see what I did? I'm really excited to show you!! 

First things first of course....

You're going to need a flying pig statue or at least something to spray paint. :) I found this guy on Etsy & he was used on one of the tables at our wedding. I had really wanted to paint him like this for our wedding but there really wasn't time. So he had to wait a little longer for his makeover. 

-Valspar Spray Paint- I'm convinced this stuff is liquid DIY gold. I've used multiple shades & finishes, all of them are spectacular & you can spray from just about any angle without causing drips or streaks. This is from the Color Radiance Collection & it is usable on wood, metal or plastic. My flying pig is ceramic I'm pretty sure, but this paint worked just fine. I selected the La Fonda Mirage color as it was the perfect shade of mint (my long-time color obsession). You can check out the full range of colors from the Valspar Color Radiance Collection here.

-Mod-Podge- My go-to adhesive when it comes to adding glitter to anything. 

-Glitter- For this purpose I prefer glitter that is Extra Fine in texture. This one is from Michael's & it is the brand Recollections in the shade Champagne. The Recollections brand is my absolute favorite & it is available in multipule textures & colors. Martha Stewart is my second favorite glitter choice, but it's a little more spendy. You can purchase both brands from Michael's, if you want to check out Recollections just click here.
-Sponge Applicator- I purchased a box with multiple sizes for about $10 from my local Joann's.

Once you have your supplies you're going to need a space to work....

 I have taken over about 1/2 of our attached single car garage this summer for the purpose of completing a series of DIY projects. Justin has been pretty patient with me using his Man Space for the majority of the summer, but I've reached the end of my time in there as it is time to start parking the car in the garage. :( We are planning out another space for me to able to work in for the winter but for now I've just about finished in our attached garage so my Jetta can have a cozy parking space for the winter. 
I use our old shower curtain & a random king size sheet from a thrift store as my drop cloths. Even though I'm working in our garage I didn't think Justin would appreciate random spray paint all over the concrete. 


 I used about 3 coats of paint & allowed approximately 20 minutes between coats. The great thing about Valspar Spray Paint is that it dries really quickly & I could of only waited about 5 minutes between coats, I just wanted to be sure I didn't create any drips or bubbles by adding layers too rapidly. 

Of course if you're going to paint something you have to be sure to give yourself a matching DIY manicure.

I allowed the final coat of paint to dry over night & then I moved to my other workspace...the kitchen table. Unfortunately I forgot to take a series of pictures during this part of the process, but it was pretty simple. 

At first I thought I only wanted to apply the glitter to the tips of the wings, once I had done that I decided that more sparkle was needed so I covered all of the inside portion of the wings in glitter. To do so I used to sponge applicator to apply a pretty thin layer of Mod-Podge & then I shook the glitter over the layer of adhesive. 
The container of Recollections glitter that I used has a shaker side & a pour side like a lot of spice jars do, it made it really easy to pour an even layer of glitter onto the wings. I did one wing completely & then I did the next one. I allowed the glitter to dry for about 30 minutes & then I touched up a couple of areas & put this Minted-Gold-Sparkling flying pig back on his perch in our kitchen. It doubles as a great out of reach from the kids drying space too. :) 

There he is back on his perch(which will have a DIY make-over of it's own soon), in all of his minty & gold sparkling beauty. I really liked how he turned out & I LOVE the combination of the mint with the gold. As you can see here one of the ears was broken & glued back on, this happened when the seller on Etsy sent him to me & I really didn't mind. You can't even tell when he is facing forward. :) 

If you have some pieces in your house that could just use a fresh coat of paint or a new shade go check out the available Valspar spray paints at your local Lowe's. Home Depot carries the Martha Stewart line of paint, I haven't found any spray paint but the decorative paints are great too for projects where spray paint won't work. There is a rose gold one that is amazing! 

I have more Mini-DIY projects to share with all of you soon! :) 

love from alaska,

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Birchbox:September 2013

I spend way too much of my time tracking my Birchbox each month & still it never shows up on the projected shipping date. Often it arrives a week before it or 3 days after. I blame Kent, WA whatever goes on in that post office is really baffling to me. Why? Why? Why do all of my subsciption boxes get held captive there for at least a week, sometimes two!! Shipping rant aside, I really do love everything in my Birchbox this month... 

I was never sent the Beauty Protector de-tangling spray that a bunch of people have raved about, which made me really happy to see this pair in my Birchbox for September. They are new to the Beauty Protector product line, & the shampoo is sulfate free. Both of them smell amazing, but I can't see myself spending $44 on the full size pair, especially when the full sizes are only 8oz! My only minor issue with these samples is that Birchbox counted the pair as individual samples for my box. If you're going to send subscribers samples of shampoo the pair should count as one, not two. 

This might be the most expensive foil packet I've ever gotten my hands on. According to Meradesso's site there are 16 botanical extracts, 7 minerals, over 20 different antioxidants & a complex of vitamins & enzymes that are sourced from all over the world in this little packet of moisturizer. I haven't tried it out yet, but secretly I'm wishing that my skin doesn't love it as much as I know it will, because $120 for 1.7oz just isn't going to happen! haha! I know I'm bringing up the price of full size products up, but it's just because I'm happy to have Birchbox sending me decent sized luxury brand samples again. :)  

I have to admit that when I heard EVERY subscriber was going to be getting a full size RUFFIAN lacquer this month I was thrilled! Out of all of the shades in the collection I really wanted either Fox Hunt or.... Hedge Fund. :) Somehow the luck of the subscription universe was on my side, at least when it came to RUFFIAN & Birchbox, but don't get me started on the Butter London let down that was IPSY this month. 

I picked up my Birchbox from our mail, opened it, then I painted over my chipped polish with Hedge Fund & began taking pictures for this post. I plan on giving myself a proper manicure sometime this weekend & I think I will save this RUFFIAN lacquer for mid-October.

Three tiny foil packets full of highly pigmented cream blush that is Vegan, paraben,mineral & formaldehyde free. I was really excited to try these out, especially the lightest shade Ashley, Ashley. Unfortunately for me the sample was empty. I will probably be able to wear the You Make Me Blush shade on my cheeks & After Hours on my lips.

I've been putting my IPSY & Birchbox up against each other in a battle of the beauty boxes each month & this month Birchbox was the winner for me. It's the first time Birchbox has beaten out IPSY in months. I'm happy to see Birchbox getting back on track with unique, fun samples that aren't all perfume or foil packets. :) IPSY still sent great products this month, they just didn't carry a huge WOW factor for me. If you'd like to see the review I did for IPSY click here & if you would like to sign up for Birchbox(subscriptions are $10 monthly) then click here! :)

love from alaska,

Eco-Emi for September

Oh Eco-Emi, the wonderful monthly subscription box service where everything is natural, organic & lovely. I adored Eco-Emi for so long but my last few boxes have not only been filled with re-peat brands but re-peat products from the same brands. The September box was quite underwhelming for me & I don't know if I will actually get a lot of use from some of the products. Want to see? Here we go...

This is the product I'm most excited about from this box, as I know it will get used right away. Currently we use a Keurig single cup style coffee brew system but due to the amount of whole bean coffee we have left over from the summer (we keep a traditional coffee pot, as well as a French Press in our trailer) we are going to switch to our old 12 cup coffee pot until we've used up every single coffee bean.  This particular coffee is shade grown on the Northeast slopes of the Andes Mountains & is perfect for the always needed afternoon perk up.

I had another flavor of this VITACARE gum in an Eco-Emi box over the summer. I actually thought I had lost it until last week when I found it in the bottom of a bag I hadn't used in months. This gum has great flavor at first & then basically ends with the same flavor & texture as Juicy Fruit=flavorless & hard to chew. I also don't think the last package whitened my teeth at all, probably because I chewed 5 pieces & then lost it. Whoops.

I have tried every kind of natural deodorant I've ever been sent & none of it works for me. I'm also obsessed with smelling clean & like a fruity little flower with sparkles, so anything that lets even a hint of BO peak through is rubbish for me. I will try this stuff out, but I already know that it's not going to work & will end up being left to collect dust with all of the other natural deodorant rejects. 

This salve is perfect for small scrapes, cuts, sun burns, diaper rash (not sure if it is cloth diaper friendly), & chapped skin/lips. So far I have only used this on my lips & it has a nice consistency & is pretty much odorless. I will probably drop this in the mini-mommy-kid-emergency-break-down-kit that is in my purse as it will come in handy for all sorts of things we might/will encounter. :)

I would of been totally thrilled about receiving this iced tea if it was the peak of summer & I hadn't already gotten a case in my POPSUGAR. I just feel like iced tea is really out of place in a fall themed box. I do drink iced tea year round but I would of preferred something more fall inspired in place of this for September. 

I have mild-moderate obsession with cleansing towelette's, seriously don't look under my bathroom sink. I'm really pleased that this one is made with blend of tea tree oil, lavender & orange extracts that will not only help cleanse but also soothe your skin. I haven't tried this wipe yet but I have a feeling that these particular variety of cleansing wipes will be perfect for camping & other Alaskan adventures. 

Fall & winter are when I use my exfoliating products the most as dry skin is a constant battle. This scrub is beautifully basic when it comes to ingredients, organic sugars, honey, vanilla extract & some oils are the only things that are in this little jar. According to the info card it is supposed to be a facial exfoliator but the grit is just too intense to use on my face so I will keep it in the shower instead.

I have so many lip glosses from my Eco-Emi boxes & I would be thrilled about each of them if they didn't all have a weird scent or flavor to them. This shade is going to be great for fall, but first I have to get past the oddly sweet scent that it is made with. 

Apologies for the blurriness of this one photo...but this shade is beautiful for the fall season & it has a quite a lot of shimmer too it, which is never a bad thing in a gloss in my opinion. :) 

While I do like the idea of sending a foundation sample trio so that people can find a better match for their skin tone, all 3 of these are misses for me.
The lightest shade Neutral No.00 is way too light for me & when I blend it with the middle shade  Cool No. 30 it becomes too cool toned for my skin. Of course the bottom shade, Warm No. 50 is way too dark for me. All in all I won't be able to get much use out of this trio as the shades are all too light or dark for me. 

Well...there was the Eco-Emi box for September. After receiving this box & thinking for a while I chose to cancel my subscription. While I'm not completely opposed to signing up again in the future, I just have enough of these same samples to last me for a while. I do think Eco-Emi is a great option for trying out some organic & natural beauty/lifestyle products so if you are interested in trying them out the subscription is $15 a month & you can sign up here!

love from alaska,


Purely You Minerals-Eco Lips (Free Lip Cream with $20 Purchase)
Lauren Brook Cosmetiques- ecoemiSep (Save 15%)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Life Lately.

Life around here has been a whirlwind of so many things. From the twins starting kindergarten in August to my fall house organization spree, we have been making the most out of each & everyday. Since I have mostly been posting reviews of subscription boxes & monthly favorites I thought it would be nice to share some photos from the last couple of months & give all of you a peek of our little Alaskan life lately. 

In July my Dad came to visit for a couple of weeks & during his time with us we all went to Seward for a few days for halibut fishing, camping & lots of bike rides. Justin's parents, sister & family all came along too so it was a really fun trip & I'm so glad we could share it with my Dad.

We have photos from a Seward trip 3 years ago where the kids were riding their big-wheel trikes down this same hill. Just another reminder of how much they have grown!

 Late night fishing. Justin & the Grandpa's took the kids on a beach fishing adventure. The kids were all in shorts & t-shirts all day & then by this point in the day it was all about layers & dressing for the chilly coastal weather.

 There are so many amazing photos from our trip, I just love the ones from our late night adventure on the beach. No one caught any fish but the kids loved being able to explore & enjoy the beach.

In August the twins started kindergarten, I still can't believe they are 6 & in school! They have loved going to school so much, I hope that they continue to like it as much as they do now when they are older. I ordered the Backpack Jr in the Pony Up print for Lilliana & the Rocket print for Nikoli from Garnet Hill & had them personalized with their first names. The Backpack Jr. is the perfect size for them & when I ordered the lunchbox in the matching print was free! The backpacks themselves are the perfect size, all the kids carry back & forth from home/school are their lunches, school shoes & a folder. The backpacks & lunchpacks are on sale right now if you are still looking for a good-quality bag that isn't covered in Disney Princesses or cartoon characters. :)

For the first 3 weeks of school the kindergarten classes all had "COLOR DAYS" they participated in every day wearing the color of that specific day. Purple day was a bit tricky for Nikoli because he didn't have any purple at all so he wore some dark purple socks. haha! 

 Such a little diva! I have never taught her to pose or anything! It's all just Lilliana. :)

I'm officially addicted to this sushi from Fred Meyer. The kids & I biked to the store on Friday's this summer to shop & then we would all choose something from the deli for lunch. Then it was a 3 mile bike ride home. :)

Of all the bike rides we did this summer I only have a couple of snapshots. :( I really need to get better at taking pictures when we are out & about. 

I took this picture of Lilliana while riding my bike & she was behind me. She is such a stylish little person all of the time. 

I posted this photo of myself on Instagram last week, as I have officially transitioned into wearing fall makeup. If you'd like to follow me on Instagram my username is: alaskalove12 

I will try to do more life lately posts on a regular basis so that they aren't as long as this one. Aside from a couple of adventures you guys are now completely caught up on our life lately! 

love from alaska,

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

ipsy for September-Classic Beauty

ipsy is easily my favorite beauty subscription box in the $10-$15 range each month. I get to excited for it to arrive & I stalk the tracking updates like a paparazzi following a Kardashian. I NEVER peek at what is going to be in my ipsy just so that I'm thoroughly surprised each month & I have never been disappointed in my ipsy products until now. The September bag was themed Classic Beauty, while everything in my bag was certainly perfect for the theme it was just a little underwhelming for me.


I have been on a search for the perfect brow pencil, so far everything I have found is either too dark or too auburn toned. ipsy did get it right when they sent me this Victoria Jackson product this month. It works perfectly with my skin tone & I have really liked filling my brows in with it! The pencil comes in with a built in sharpener & the taupe shade is designed to work with each & every skin tone.

The swatch here looks a little dark from the lighting & how my camera picked it up. I also drew a thicker line so it would show up in the photo but the pencil is made for you to be able to draw really fine "hairs."

When it comes to Classic Beauty black eyeliner is certainly a staple. While I do love black kohl liners myself I have been really into liquid liner lately, & I had already received a product from Starlooks in an ipsy a couple of months ago. I will totally use this product but in terms of $12 liner it just isn't anything special.

The liner is a true dark black shade, but it isn't the creamiest kohl liner I've ever tried. 

I was really excited when I opened my ipsy & saw a single shadow from Nyx, unfortunately it's in a shade that I will probably hardly use. It is too glittery for me to be able to use it as a highlight under the brow bone & it really isn't pigmented at all. While it does show up with a lot of sparkle on my lid by itself it is very chalky & just not something I will get a lot of use out of. I need to start going out just so I can create some nighttime looks! haha.

I really had to build this swatch up to get my camera to be able to pick it up, you can see even here that it has a pretty chalky finish. I've heard that NYX single eye shadows are really hit or miss depending on the shade, this for me is just a miss.

This is another product that was in my September ipsy from a company that I've already been sent by ipsy before. While I LOVE my Cailyn Linefix Gel Eyeliner this tinted balm is really just not getting it done for me. When I think of tinted lip balms that are amazing I think of the Maybelline Color Whispers or REVLON Lip Butters. The pigmentation & staying power of this Cailyn Big Apple shade is great, but when it comes to being a balm it's a total fail. It has a matte finish which I appreciate, but it completely dries out my lips & is really tight feeling on the lips. If I try to rub my lips together at all to help apply this product it is actually almost impossible!

The pigmentation is beautiful & it's a total fit for a classic red lip, but there are much better options out there that won't cost you $19!

This is my favorite product from this month! Usually high end mascara doesn't impress me any more than anything you can find at the drug store. The shape of this wand is so perfect for my lashes! It's a true jet black mascara & I wish I had been sent a full size.

I really like this hourglass shaped wand, it's the perfect length for my lashes & grabs onto each & every single lash. 

Alright ladies! That was my entire ipsy bag for September, Classic Beauty. What did you think? While I do see what ipsy was trying to do with the products they sent me, I could fill in my brows, add some sparkle to my eyes, line my upper & lower lashlines, apply some tinted balm & mascara & boom! Classic va-va-voom look. For me receiving products from 2 brands that I have already been sent was really disappointing & the NYX eyeshadow was just bad. 
If I could swap products out I totally would take the BUTTER London Polish, Freeman Facemasks & the skyn Iceland firming eye eye gels. hehe! A lot of what was sent to me this month was based on the new IPSY-Match quiz, I'm actually going to re-take mine & see if the products in my October bag end up being a better fit. This was by no means a BAD ipsy bag it was just sort of underwhelming & I wasn't over the moon wow-ed like I have been. :) 

Want your very own ipsy glam bag? OR do you want to see what the actual BAG for September looks like...because I totally forgot to snap a photo of it! ;) CLICK HERE!!! :) 

love from Alaska,