Monday, October 28, 2013

Double Your Closet Space: DIY Cascading Hangers

For those of you who read my previous entry, you know that I have moved! I now have a roomie, which is great cost-wise when it comes to saving money and making new friends, but the downside is that I had to condense my life from a full apartment on my own to a room and shared storage space with someone else. 

One of the biggest adjustments is that I had a bunch of closet space and two bureaus (I used two separate closets for clothes - though, in my defense, they were not very large closets, and all together the bureaus really only had 6 drawers), so - as you might imagine - I had to put my thinking cap on and figure out how to maximize my space. Luckily for me, my librarian tendencies make me hyper-organized, so I decided I needed a cascading hanger, like this:

The downside was that they would not fit over the dowel in my closet and they cost a little more money than I wanted to spend. Then I read a tip on Amazon from someone who mentioned using S-hooks and some chain to make a DIY version. Well, quite frankly, S-hooks are too small for the dowel in my closet, as well, so my boyfriend and I went to Home Depot and put our heads together for a solution.

So this is what I did for four cascading hangers that fit my closet that only cost a total of about $12, including taxes! If your dowel comes out of the wall (mine is actually non-removable, so it cost me a little extra), you really only need the little clamps that I bought for this project. 

You need:
  • Four metal loops that will fit around your dowel/closet rod (about $2.98 for a pack of two, I think); this is optional if you fit them over your hangers, as I did upon realizing my dowel was not removable, so you can potentially save even MORE money!

  • Little clamps for your chain (mine were $0.98 each)

  • 4 foot-long lengths of chain that will fit your hangers (I chose a sturdy chain that was $1.12 per foot)

Simply hook the clamp through the metal ring, like so, and then slip the chain through the clamp. Alternatively, if you bypassed the metal rings, you can just slip the clamp through the chain and around a supporting hanger (I recommend one with a metal handle):

Then you hang in your closet, cascade your hangers as you would with a store-bought set, and voila! You have your own DIY cascading hangers! And, if you forgo the metal rings, your project will get you four cascading hangers for $8.40 or less!

They work a treat. :) Forgive the mess - haven't fully finished unpacking! 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

New Places, Crazy Landlords, and Breaking a Lease - How to Save Yourself

This post is going to be different than my usual posts about beauty, and that is because it is about some serious Life Tips that I'd like to offer. If I hadn't had the foresight and, quite often, the sheer dumb luck that I did at times, I would be in a seriously worse situation than I am in right now - and, let's face it, the situation I have just managed to get resolved was pretty bad. In the words of my boyfriend, who has been renting for almost ten years: "I have never seen any living situation that is to this extent and is this bad." 

Today's topic is: How to protect yourself when you move somewhere, in case things go bad. What to do and what you can learn from my mistakes, as well as what I did right. I will highlight the pertinent parts of my story in bold to make them easily identifiable. 

Let's lay the scenario for my personal experience: I took a job in a city where I had never lived. It was the first apartment that would have only my name on the lease and only me living there. I chose an apartment that fit my current budget and, on the surface, appeared great. It was mostly furnished, included all utilities, had off-street parking, and laundry was on-site and included in my lease. Here were my first mistakes - it fit my current budget and I signed a long term lease with no forgiveness clause. If something happens to your budget or there is an emergency and your rent rate is high, you are going to be in a lot of trouble. In my case, I took a cut in pay and was barely scraping by, locked into a lease that I couldn't break (at first, but I'll get to that). Because I hadn't included a forgiveness clause or any way to extricate myself from the lease, I was stuck. I have been getting groceries only once every two months in order to afford my rent. 

Here is what I did correctly: I over-filled the walkthrough sheet I was given and took extensive pictures of all existing damage in the apartment ahead of time. I did this even though, at the time, I thought my landlady was going to be normal. I then had another set of eyes review the walkthrough list and I provided a copy of the walkthrough to the realty I rented through. That way they had a copy from the point of time when I moved in.

I also familiarized myself with my lease verbatim and I also obtained a copy of my state's landlord-tenant law, so that I was fully aware of what boundaries existed. I also began documenting all of my interactions with my landlady and noting what witnesses were present when I was forced to communicate with her. I also took photos and video footage of me turning in my monthly rental check.

Most landlords are reasonable people; unfortunately, the woman I rented from was not, and if I had not kept documentation and witnesses as I did, in addition to the walkthrough and my photos of the apartment, I would be in deep trouble. 

The first thing that is important is to set boundaries. If you are friends with your landlord ahead of time, that's great for you. If not, I advise you to treat them as a business partner, because that is what they are. When you rent a home or an apartment, you are paying for a good and a service; that property legally becomes yours to do with as you choose, within the realm of your lease, and your landlord should allow you to do so and leave you to your right to quietly enjoy the premises. Do not allow yourself to be a push-over in this matter, or your landlord will continue to push you around. This is another mistake that I made. I like to be nice to people and I am a fairly empathetic  considerate person. Unfortunately, my landlady recognized this trait in me and exploited it.

I began being bullied by my landlady the first day I moved in. As I was carrying boxes up to my apartment, she stopped me and told me off for "making too much noise." Instead of telling her I was moving in and that is to be expected, I apologized. I should not have done so. In the duration of the 8 months that I lived in my apartment, I was harassed almost daily by this woman; I was informed that I wasn't allowed to wear shoes or slippers within my apartment, that I wasn't allowed to have guests, that I wasn't allowed to make any sound in the hallways or outside on the property, that I wasn't allowed to make any sounds after 9pm in the evenings, and more. 

My landlady informed that she watched for me to come home and leave my apartment and would pounce on me then. She accused me of having wild parties, and when I asked her who she thought I was having parties with, she described the other tenants in the building. When I pointed out to her that they rented from her, and were going to their apartments and certainly not to mine to have "wild parties," she admitted to me that she didn't know any of our names.

I found my landlady in my apartment without informing me first, which is illegal, and I would hear her doing the same to the other tenants and to guests at her bed & breakfast, as the apartments and bed & breakfast are in the same building. She used to follow me around for up to 30 minutes at a time, ranting at me and attacking me for imagined slights. She blamed an ant infestation that the house has on me, telling me that I brought the ants with me when I moved from Maine. (It should be noted that I found reviews of her bed & breakfast online from over 5 years ago complaining about the infestation of ants on the property.) 

She began attacking friends of mine that would stop by to go to dinner with me and my family members. She threatened constantly to evict me, and proudly boasted that she had evicted the last several people that had rented from her. She also began telling people that myself and another girl who rented in the building were lesbians together; she also would scream across the house in increasingly louder shrieks until I realized she was trying to get my attention. She became more and more volatile, and I was tiptoeing and whispering around my apartment premises in an effort to escape her constant wrath.

Again - every time I had an encounter with her I controlled my temper and documented the time, date, and whether any witnesses were present. This showed that there was a pattern of behavior and that these were not isolated incidents; in addition to that, it provided additional people who could vouch for what I was saying, so that it was not only my word against hers. 

She also insisted that I never communicate with her in paper or electronically; she did not want a paper trail. For this reason, I always provided her with paper copies of everything, even though she literally would throw away the documents in front of me, as I watched, and insist to my face that she did not receive them as she did so. I kept copies of everything myself, as well, to back up the fact that I had provided them.

Several other tenants spoke to me and revealed that she was treating them the same way. Finally, at the end of September, one of the tenants who would also find her randomly in his apartment for no reason (again--illegal) came to me and confessed that he couldn't take it any longer, and that he was moving. He left the next morning and said goodbye to me as I headed to work.

The following evening - about a day later - I had my boyfriend over for a visit. My boyfriend is in the military and lives up by the military base closest to us in the state, which is over an hour away from where I live, so I do not see him frequently. It was late at night, and I was wearing my pajamas, when I heard a dreaded knock on the door which meant she was there to harass me about something else.

When I opened the door, my landlady immediately attacked me. She accused me of having my boyfriend live there and never leave the apartment, raising her water bill, and raising her costs. She never showed me this alleged difference in the water bill and told me that she had "spoken to people and they told her that she was right to raise the rent." She told me to pay her an increased rent right then and there, that evening, or I was going to be evicted. She then stated that she would ask my boyfriend directly for extra rent money and that if I didn't like it, I was welcome to leave, as long as I told her I was leaving "more than a day in advance." 

In a state of shock, I told her that I didn't understand how she could raise the rent, since I had a lease that was a legal contract, and that my boyfriend certainly didn't live with me. She flew into a rage and told me that I "was not in the same class as the other people she rents to in the building", that I was a child, and that she "couldn't believe I was being so unreasonable." I managed to put her off by telling her I didn't have the money that night, which was the truth. 

I knew for a fact that there was no way my boyfriend, who visited only occasionally, could have raised the water bill. For one thing, the entire house had the same water bill - there are not separate meters for each apartment. For another, my boyfriend and I started dating at the very end of May, which is the beginning of tourist season in the city I live, and the end of tourist season is - fancy this - the end of September. As a bed & breakfast owner, the landlady had guests almost every single night since I started dating my boyfriend. In addition to these things, also at the same time I started dating my boyfriend, my landlady's developmentally disabled and deaf nephew moved in with her full time and has been a 24/7 constant fixture in the house. That, plus the fact that she had just suddenly lost the rent of the guy who lived downstairs, meant that there was no way, with all of these factors added in, that my boyfriend being there once every two weeks could have raised her water bill. 

Here is how I was able to somehow, miraculously remove myself from the situation and from a landlady that is completely unhinged and a slumlord (I won't say her name, but it sounds like Schm-an Sch-maylor of the Sch-ohn Sch-easton Sch-ouse), which is a total blessing. 

It is illegal for a landlord to violate the contract of a lease by attempting to raise the rent while the lease is still in effect; harassment of a tenant and violation of their right to quiet enjoyment is also illegal, and so is the fact that she would go into my apartment without gaining consent and without there being an emergency to prompt such actions. Even if I had not had a lease, it is illegal for a landlord to raise the rent on a tenant without putting it into writing and giving the tenant 30 days notice at the minimum

The next thing I did right: once I realized what was happening, I didn't waste any time or put off taking action. Had I done so, the landlady would have prevailed over me and I could have lost a lot of money and ruined my credit score. I called the realty company to check and see what they had to say about everything that was happening and was told by the shocked realtor that my landlady had come into their office, claimed that my boyfriend never left the apartment, and asked what she should do. Not knowing that she was lying, they told her that she would need to bring my boyfriend and myself and negotiate a new lease with both of our names on it. Instead of doing this, she knocked on the door at night and demanded I pay then and there, which is, as I have noted, illegal.

My next step, having hit my limit with the gall of this woman, was to call a landlord-tenant lawyer for a free consultation. He told me that I should get her to sign a mutual termination of lease document to protect myself legally and to give my notice as soon as possible. Because I knew my landlady would pretend not to have received my notice, I sent it digitally, CCing another person to verify that it was sent properly, and I sent it via Certified Mail, with a read receipt requested. This is easy to do; you go into your local post office and ask for Certified Mail with a read receipt. You fill out the little card they give you and choose whether to obtain a hard copy or an electronic receipt copy. Because I wanted tangible evidence, I opted for a hard copy. All total, ensuring that I covered my derriere in this manner cost me only $6.11, an amount I gladly paid for my peace of mind.

When I attempted to contact the lawyer I had spoken with several times and never heard back from him, I scouted around online and found a mutual termination letter. I downloaded it and adapted it to my lease and to my situation. The whole time this was going on, I kept checking in with the original realty company. While I realize I made a hassle of myself with the realtors, if I had not been so loud about the situation, I would have been ignored. I always remember what my father told me: the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

I received the read receipt in the mail with her signature on it and saved it with my files. Not only did I have her signature saying she had received the hard copy, but I realized she had read it as well, since the following morning as I was leaving my apartment for work at 7:20am, I walked out the door to find her waiting for me. She began screaming at me so loudly that another tenant in the building woke up and sent me a message asking what was going on! I was so stunned at her behavior that I informed her I had to get to work and couldn't speak with her.

I called the realty company and told them what had happened; I finally was able to convince the realty company to call my landlady to get her in to the office to sign the mutual release. I asked my boyfriend to accompany me to the meeting for support. Even if whoever is there with you doesn't utter a word, the fact that you have another body backing you up is a great morale booster and can give you additional strength. 

I also did so to prove that he was not living with me - as he is in the military, he could show his military ID and location to demonstrate tangibly that he was not, by any means, residing with me at that address. Thirdly, I brought him as a witness to her behavior and to her telling me to get out that evening.

I am unbelievably grateful that I had obtained her signature, kept documentation of her treatment of me, did my research on the law, and brought witnesses, because my landlady would have hung me out to dry had I not done so. As an older woman, she made an attempt to play the senile card, and my older realtor quite obviously believed her until I brought out proof after proof of her insane behavior towards me. 

She claimed that she had never met my boyfriend - interesting, as she was claiming he was a full-time resident at the address, where she also lives - and both of us said, "You have met him 2-3 times now." She tried to state that she had not demanded I pay an increased rent, which I countered by describing the situation and pointing out that my boyfriend had witnessed it, which made her then admit to the realtor she had done. 

She then attempted to claim that she had never received the notice I provided, to which I pointed out that I had not only sent her a digital copy, but that I had a physical signature from her indicating her receipt of the notice I had legally tendered. When she stuttered that she had received it but hadn't read it, I stated that she certainly must have, since the evening after I received the mail saying that my landlady had signed for the notice, she was waiting for me that morning at 7:20 am outside my apartment door and began screaming at me about it so loudly that it woke another tenant up and they asked what was happening. 

When she had the gall to ask if we could "work things out," I then added that I had found her in my apartment several times before, as had another tenant, which was illegal, and that it was illegal to raise my rent, that I felt like I was living in a cage, and that I was not able to quietly enjoy the apartment, which is also a legal right. 

At this point the realtor was openly gaping at her and my landlady's face was - I must say - priceless. She realized I had completely legally out-maneuvered her and that I was not some dumb child that she could exploit. She also realized that she had been caught breaking several laws and breaking the contract and that she was lucky that I had not come against her legally, which the realtor reinforced by stating, "You realize she spoke to an attorney, right?" 

It was then that my landlady broke down and signed the mutual termination form I had drawn up, dated, and already signed. After the realtor read it out loud, affirming that my landlady was agreeing to return my security deposit in full, that the lease was absolved, and that no legal action could be brought against me (or her), she signed it hastily and the realtor signed it. I then requested that all of us be provided with a copy and the copies were made without further adieu. 

I arranged to do the final walk-through of my apartment with the realtor, with the landlady not present - as I had been warned by another realtor at the agency that my landlady was notorious for not returning security deposits and pushing false claims of damage - which I am not concerned about. My parents taught me to always leave a place better than when you found it, which I certainly have, having had made repairs and thoroughly cleaned and kept up the apartment. And, if there is any question, my thoroughly detailed walk-through form from when I first signed the lease and gave it to the realty company and the extensive photos I took of all damage when I first moved in should absolve me of any problems.

I am lucky that I have managed to escape this situation the way that I will when the end of the month arrives. She asked if I would leave before November, and I informed her that I most certainly would not, as I had already paid for October. I found out this morning that she had already rented my apartment - she had wanted to collect, illegally, I might add, two months' rent in October for the same apartment! 

I can't wait to move into my new place and escape this woman (hopefully) forever. 

So, to sum up, learn from my mistakes:

  1. If a place seems too good to be true, which mine did - beware.
  2. I fit the apartment to my budget when I moved to the area. When my job changed, I took a cut in pay and could not afford the apartment, but was locked into the lease.
  3. I allowed myself to be locked into a lease without any sort of clause or forgiveness for if something happened to my job or my health.
  4. I became a push-over and didn't assert myself from the very beginning.
  5. I should have also insisted on only speaking with her via the written word, no matter what she squawked at me to the contrary.
And learn from what I did right:
  1. I over-filled the walk-through and had another set of eyes look over the apartment and add to it. I then filed this with the realty company.
  2. I took extensive, time-stamped photos of existing damage to protect myself.
  3. I just about memorized my lease.
  4. I familiarized myself with my state's landlord-tenant law so that I knew when my landlady crossed the realm of annoying to constantly breaking the law.
  5. I documented every encounter with her and made notes of witnesses.
  6. I gave her hard copies and kept hard copies for myself, in addition to photos/videos of me turning in rent or letters.
  7. I controlled myself every time I spoke with her; had I not done so, she could have said that I was emotional and out of control and could not, therefore, be trusted.
  8. I acted quickly when a confrontation was unavoidable so that the situation could not be stacked against me. She confronted me regarding the rent raise about 9pm Tuesday evening and I began working on combatting her and extricating myself legally from the situation Wednesday morning.
  9. I received a free consultation from a landlord-tenant lawyer familiar with the laws of the state. He pointed me in the right direction and confirmed my belief that her actions were illegal and I had a case. Had he ever responded to my calls and emails, I would have retained him. As he didn't, I had to research and obtain legal documents on my own.
  10. I found a new place before I gave my notice so that I had somewhere lined up to go.
  11. I had the realty company act as a witness and bring my landlady into the office, where she couldn't rip up the papers in front of me.
  12. I brought at least one witness with me, along with my documentation and proof of what had been happening.
  13. I stood firm when attacked by the realtor (my landlady's friend, I discovered) and by my landlady and prevailed.
  14. I ensured that a witness signed the mutual termination of lease and that it included the fact that the landlady could not with-hold my security deposit, which she had threatened to do.
  15. I arranged to do the walk-through before I left the apartment and with the realtor, with the landlady not present, so she could not cheat me of anything.
  16. I made a digital copy of the mutual termination and all of my supporting documents in addition to my hard copies and archived them electronically.
I will certainly be even more vigilant in the future; it feels like a weight is off of my shoulders, and when I left the realty office and realized that my ordeal was over, I almost started bawling right there in the road. My boyfriend, bless him, stayed with me the whole time, and I am so grateful that he was my rock throughout the nightmare I found myself in.

As a final note:

If you are in a similar situation, please realize that you can get yourself out of it even if you don't have enough legal evidence to do so and that you don't have to stay living with the cards stacked against you. You can force the landlord to evict you. Simply stop paying your rent. Be warned that this can screw up your credit and your standing when you try to rent an apartment in the future, so if you do this, make sure that you have already lined up another place to rent and that you have enough proof that you can convince someone that even though you couldn't legally get out of the situation, that you were in the right. 

While I realize this was not a happy post, I wanted to share my experience to hopefully prevent someone else from going through the same thing. Even if this post only helps one person, that will be enough. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

How to Shape Your Own Eyebrows

Shaping your own eyebrows can seem scary at first, but it's actually pretty easy - and this way you save money and can control how your eyebrows look! My pin on shaping your own eyebrows is consistently popular on Pinterest, so I thought I'd put together a video on how it's done. Watch for a quick tutorial on how to shape your own eyebrows.

All you need is a straight edge, white eyeliner, and tweezers!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Reviews! Maybelline SuperStay Foundation, L'Oreal Telescopic Mascara, ELF Spray

I have more reviews for you on affordable, drugstore makeup choices! Stay tuned for Maybelline SuperStay Foundation, L'Oreal Telescopic Mascara, and E.L.F. Makeup Setting Spray!

Sorry that I haven't posted any reviews recently, but I've been busy with - gasp - a boy in my life. Because - GET THIS - I have a boy. 

What? What is this? I has a man? 

Heck yah I do, baby! He's a sexy redhead and he makes me feel happier than I think anyone I have ever dated has ever made me feel before. Isn't it lovely when you meet someone you can be totally yourself with? For those of you reading this who are single, please forgive me for gushing. It's just...I'm tired of holding it in because I feel like I'm going to explode with ALL THE FEELS.

And I feel like this inside:

And I get like this when people ask me about him: 

Okay, I'll stop. But the long and short of it is that I'm happy, though I am sorry I haven't posted reviews in a while. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Benefit: They're Real! Mascara vs Maybelline Lash Stiletto: Voluptuous

I decided to give the Benefit: They're Real! mascara a try and pit it against my favorite budget mascara, Maybelline Lash Stiletto: Voluptuous (Very Black).

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Makeup Tip #2: Keep Your Liner From Smudging!

Does your eyeliner ever smudge or vanish throughout the day? There's a very quick and simple way to keep your eyeliner where it's supposed to be and make it last all day long!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Reviews! Maybelline, Physician's Formula, Profusion, GlamGlow

Hello everyone! Today I bring you more of my thoughts on several affordable (and one not so affordable) beauty products. I cover a lot in one video, with my candid thoughts on the products, so I hope those of you who are contemplating using any of these will find this particularly helpful. 

On a totally random note, can't believe that my Garnier Olia dye job still has zero fading and max shine factor, even though I haven't touched it up or dyed it at all since March 23-24! Not to mention that it is still super healthy and hasn't shown damage the way other dyes end up doing. I am so impressed--love that oil-based hair color!

Reviews in this video:
  • Maybelline the Rocket Volum' Express (Waterproof)
  • Maybelline Lash Stiletto: Voluptuous 
  • Physician's Formula Happy Booster Bronzer & Blush: Bronze/Rose
  • Profusion: Twinkle Twinkle Eyeshadow Bricks
  • GlamGlow: Youthmud TinglExfoliate Treatment
  • Coastal Scents 22-Piece Brush Set
  • Make Your Eyes Pop! (series continued)
  • Oil cleansing! I give it a try, and does it work? 
  • DIY Face Brightening Toner

In other news:

One of my previous professors from my undergrad years is going to be in the area soon and wants to visit! He was one of my favorite professors--although, being quite honest, most of my professors were my favorite professors, since I loved almost all of them--so, needless to say, I'm quite exceedingly excited. Took me totally by surprise!

Not to mention that my brother is coming down to visit me next weekend and that another friend from Guam will also be flying out to visit this summer. So many amazing things! 

I also watched Donnie Darko for the first time this weekend and I loved it. I have a real thing for dark psychological movies and somehow hadn't watched the film until yesterday. Whoof! Mind blown. That, of course, sent me on a psychological movie tangent this weekend. 

All in all, quite a good time and even more good times towards which to look forward. 


Friday, May 3, 2013

Make Your Eye Color Pop -- Blue Eyes, Part 1!

I'm going to do a series of tutorials on how to get your eye color to pop. Each eye color has several ways it can be shown off--here I give you one way to make blue eyes shine. Even if you don't have blue eyes, it is still a pretty look to try!

One of these days I'll figure out how to get a flattering picture to be the still in my video preview! 


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Reboot Your Body (+Glam Glow Dupe)

This weekend I've decided to do a reboot on my body. I've been going through some major stress at my job (such as being fired after not even a full month of work...I'd tell the whole story, but I'd rather not bring repercussions down on my head. Needless to say, I've been reassured that it was truly not my fault), and it's been wreaking havoc on my body. Stress really does take a huge toll on your health, both mentally and physically--your hair can fall out, you can gain weight, you can feel sick, women miss their monthly curse gift, some of us either eat more or eat even less, you get depressed, feel constantly fatigued...I could go on. Either way, stress has a bad effect on you, and I can see it taking effect on me. I've had to do full body reboots several times in the past and I always feel much better afterward, so I thought I'd share what I do with anyone who reads this. 

1) The first thing I do is flush out my body. I either do this by doing a two-week cleanse or I do a fast-flush method, which is what I opted for this time. You can flush out your digestive system and your intestines by drinking a full bottle of magnesium citrate (mixed with lots of water or juice). 

You can pick up a standard size bottle at any drugstore, Walmart, Target, Dollar Tree, you name it. You can find it in a variety of flavors, but I find it's easiest to stomach in lemon. "But that doesn't sound safe," you might be thinking with alarm. "Those are mineral and chemical sounding words. Is that even healthy?" The answer is yes. How do I know this? I've had a lot of digestive problems and at one point was referred to a gastroenterologist who introduced me to this process. Drinking the full bottle in one day completely flushes through your system. I don't recommend leaving the house while doing this, because things will not end well, but if you tough it out for a day when you don't need to go anywhere or do anything, you'll be fine. 

Your innards will totally flush through and you'll feel much better when everything is finished, as all of the gunk that has built up in your system will be out of you. The short explanation is thus: If you eat meat of any form, you need to realize that our intestines are not built the same way that a true carnivore's are, and stuff gets clogged inside of you, no matter how much yogurt you eat. When you flush it out, you lose the weight it gave you, your stomach will be slimmer, and you'll have more energy. This is not something you should do every day or every weekend, but it is something to be done every few months. If you prefer a longer cleanse, I recommend this one or this one.

2) The next thing I do is do a full body workout. I typically don't have time during the week to do full workouts, but I try to get my exercise in daily. There are two workouts, however, that are so intense on me that I save them for when I'm "rebooting." Everyone has different workouts that they know will totally make over their body--you know what I'm talking about. The workouts that you finish and then you can't move for the next two days, but you see immediate results immediately after finishing. For me, it turned out to be two Crunch workouts:
Crunch Fat Burning Ab Attack

Crunch: Total Resculpt 

I'm not clear just what it is about these two workouts that has such an effect on my body, since I do the same exercises in other workouts far more often than I do these. But something about these two Crunch workouts is the equivalent of the American Revolution on me. If you want to try them on your own, you can get them on Amazon Instant Video or Netflix. Either way, doing highly intense workouts leaves you feeling stronger, more energetic, and you feel better about yourself. After all, exercise releases the same amount of dopamine that drugs do. 

3) Next, I reboot my skin. Let me state that I only do this with my face; I have serious skin issues with my face, thanks to not understanding the aging effects of the sun when you live on the equator and don't wear sunscreen. (I have had wrinkles and dark spots from the sun from age 19, in addition to rough/red skin from capillaries that run close to the surface of my face.) If you'd like to reboot the rest of your skin, may I suggest this amazing brown sugar scrub? Now that I'm single I really don't care if my body is touchable, since I don't have time to "meet" guys anyway, but back when I had a boyfriend, I used this and it was incredible. My skin was so soft that I couldn't believe it was actually part of me. 

But I digress! To reboot my face, I first exfoliate. I mix baking soda and my favorite cleanser in my hand to make a paste and then rub in circles gently over my skin (and extra-gently around my eyes.) 

This gently removes all of my dead skin, for my next step, which is blackhead removal. I use simple white glue for this. I used to use Biore pore strips, but then read that Elmer's glue does the same thing for far less money. 
I put a layer around the areas I have problems with my pores--just above my eyebrows, my nose, and my chin--and then add another layer on top of the first, before it dries, in order to keep it thick enough. I wait for it to try, and slowly peel it off. It pulls out my blackheads with the same level of effectiveness as the Biore strips ever did, if not even better. 

After this step, depending on how long it's been since I did a facial, I'll exfoliate once more, using my Olay ProX system. They aren't expensive and they're good when you need to get a fast deep clean.
Next, use a pore eraser. Here is where you should love me - I found a dupe for Glam Glow that is less than $10. I've used both Glam Glow and this one, and I can testify that this has the exact same effect, but that is actually affordable (find it at Target!). It's called Boot's Botanics Conditioning Clay Mask. This stuff sucks the dirt straight out of your blackheads and captures it in the clay. It's incredible! 
Next, I use my favorite face mask. I haven't found another one that comes close to this for a face-lift effect! Freeman's Clay Mask with Avocado and Oatmeal. 

This stuff is incredible. It lasts a very long time and is like an instant face lift. It stings like heck when you put it on, but that means it's working. You let it stay on your face until it is 100% dry and you can't move any part of your skin any longer. It completely closes your pores, dries out any problem spots on your skin that you might have had, and firms up your entire face, chin, and neck (if you put it there.) 

You finish off your facial skin reboot by rinsing off the mask, using your favorite toner to further close your pores, and then apply the moisturizer of your choice. If you're not going anywhere, I recommend something with Retinol. My favorite is Vitamin World's Retinol cream. It's affordable and almost 100% pure, which is way better than more expensive brands. Disclaimer: I used to work for Vitamin World, and that's how I found out about their Retinol cream. However, I used the cream on my own, as well as other brands' Retinol creams, and I have to say that in my personal opinion (uninfluenced by anything/anyone), I prefer this brand the best and find it most effective for my skin.

4) This step is optional, but let me tell ya, you'll feel great. Treat yourself to a detox bath. You can use a bath fizzy of your choice, or use 1-2 cups of Epsom salt, but dissolve them in the hottest water you can stand and soak as much of yourself as you can submerge (I know my tub is a wee bit too short for me, and I can't lay flat) for at least 20 minutes. Rinse yourself off and, if you did the Epsom salt route, don't use any body wash or moisturizer or anything on your skin. You just purged the chemicals and germs from your body and it would negate the effects of the bath to put them straight back on.

5) What better way to finish off a reboot than with a chocolate peanut butter smoothie? I am a Smoothie Queen. My family and my ex-boyfriend used to throw their hands in the air, standing at the blender, and yell, "KIM. HELP. FIX THIS. I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT I DID." 

Here's my recipe for my favorite healthy smoothie that tastes like chocolate peanut butter paradise. 
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 4 Tbsp of Nesquick chocolate powder (or equivalent; I just prefer Nesquick)
  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter of your choice
  • 2 large Tbsp scoops of yogurt (I prefer fat free Greek vanilla for more protein)
  • 1/2 cup of milk
Now blend that sucker, adding milk if you find it is too thick, and enjoy your super tasty and filling chocolate peanut butter smoothie of incredibleness. 

Happy rebooting, everyone! 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Subtle Contouring for Round Faces: Look Naturally Slimmer!

Having a round face is both a blessing and a curse! I know it means that I show wrinkles and aging less easily, but I still look at the chiseled cheekbones of Angelina Jolie and weep into my mirror. Thank God for contouring! Contouring round faces is a wee bit different than contouring for those who are naturally endowed with amazing facial structure. 

I've made a tutorial video for how to do "subtle" contouring underneath your foundation (and slimming your nose) so that it isn't so obvious that you've used makeup to alter your appearance. Examples of where this might come in handy are:

  • Job interviews
  • Dates
  • Impressing a crush at the gym when you shouldn't be wearing "obvious" makeup
  • Work days
Hope this helps and apologies in advance for my voice--I was quite sick recently and my voice still hasn't recovered!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

CoverGirl Aqua Smooth Compact Foundation Review

Even though this foundation has been out for a long time, I had never tried it and it doesn't really get talked about or much hype. On a friend's tip (shout-out to Anne!), I decided to give it a whirl (since Revlon Colorstay was SUCH a disappointment.) Um, spoiler alert--I LOVE THIS STUFF. It is SO much better than Revlon Colorstay and I can't get over how long it lasts. My shade is Creamy Natural.

Isn't that SUCH a flattering still for this video?? YEESH.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

DIY Body Wash

As I am completely broke (the title of my blog is no lie, folks!), I decided today to give a DIY Body Wash tutorial I found on Pinterest a try (you can see the original pin here.) This pin appealed to me primarily because of the low-cost nature of the project. For me, it cost $0. That's right, folks. No dinero. And no, I did not steal soap or anything of that nature. Some time ago, my mother gave me a few bars of Trader Joe's Oatmeal and Honey soap. Since it's super creamy and smells absolutely terrific, I decided that I would use it to attempt this DIY. (Note: I apologize for the quality of the pictures. I have to use my phone's camera, as I don't own one myself.)

So I got my soap.

 And my large pot, since I didn't know how much this would make, really. In retrospect, I could have used a smaller saucepan. However, my saucepan is very new, and this larger pot is very old, and I'd rather junk up my older pot than my newer one. Just saying.

Since I didn't feel like adding to my carpal tunnel issues with grating the bar of soap, I decided to carve it up with a bread knife. The added benefit to using a bread knife and sawing away at the soap was that it tended to flake on its own. I can't vouch for this working with any other brand of soap, but it worked for this one. I decided to use the whole bar, since I had saved a large, empty container that previously held Sunny-D to store this stuff in (I love me some Sunny-D.)

I then added my flaked/carved soap to my pot.

I went with more water versus less, as I read comments on the original pin that noted 2 cups made their DIY body wash way too thick. I always believe that the best defense is a good offense (I follow that policy with literally every aspect of my life. FTW!), so I did a preemptive strike and used 4 cups of water. (Note, if you're following along to try this on your own: I ended up adding another 2 cups later on. So, if you are using the same or similar soap, I recommend starting with 6 or even more. This stuff congeals like crazy pants). 

Next, you put the heat on medium and cook that stuff until all of the soap dissolves. Not all of mine did. It started looking like this: 

Gah! I had to repeatedly scrape and stir this mixture, alternating from medium to low heat. It never turned "milky," the way the post originally stated. However, I think this is because the original blogger used a fairly artificial soap and I used Trader Joe's straight-up organic stuff. When I turned off the stove, in exasperation (after the soap never fully dissolved), it started to thicken up the way the blogger said it would. Whoo! Then I realized that the blogger said it would take several hours and mine was taking only about 15 minutes. Woops. So I added 2 more cups of water and put the heat back on medium. I was determined to dissolve all of the soap this time. DISSOLVE, CURSE YOU.

Finally started looking milky-ish! 

Well, it didn't turn out too horribly, although it is thick as pea soup and keeps getting thicker. The recipe didn't make a whole lot, either. I just add some hot water when I need to and shake the heck out of the container in order to get it to cooperate with me. 

My impressions upon using it works. I guess. It's incredibly congealed. Do yourself a favor if you try this and, after putting your soap into the pot you choose, FILL IT TO THE BRIM with water. But it does work rather well, though you need a LOT of it in order to cover your whole body. I have to admit that I prefer my trusty Suave body wash (cheap and best body wash I've tried yet) to this DIY beauty trick, but I'll use this until it's gone. Maybe this would work better with "normal" soap, instead of organic Trader Joe's. Perhaps I will try this again if I spot an Oil of Olay bar in Dollar Tree the next time I'm there. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Garnier Olia and Revlon Colorstay Foundation Review

Today I'm bringing you two quick reviews on Garnier Olia (4.15 Soft Mahogany Brown) and Revlon Colorstay 24 Hour Foundation (in 200 Nude, Combo/Oily Skin). 

Garnier Olia is the must luxurious and modern home-dye package I have ever used. It smelled like a bed of roses and I had SO much left after I did my long hair that I was really trying hard to use up the bottle. The color is exactly the picture on the box, and my hair is incredibly shiny and feels healthier than it did before I dyed it! Can't recommend Olia enough; I will definitely be using it again.

I'm rather "Eh" on Revlon Colorstay. On the one hand, it does last for a very long time. On the other hand, it doesn't really contain the oil that my skin produces. And--be forewarned--it oxidizes within an hour of wearing it to a darker, more orange tone. If you decide to get this foundation, make sure that you get a shade lighter than the one that matches your skin tone or else you will look like you're wearing horrible fake tanner. 

For more details, check out my video review below. Cheers!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Repairing Damaged Hair, Part 2!

Here are my favorite hair repair products. These healed my incredibly damaged hair from back when I was a blonde! (To see my damaged blonde hair, check out my original blog post on this topic here.)  

Friday, March 1, 2013


I haven't put out a video or a review for a while because...(drum roll)...I am moving! That's right! I accepted an amazing job offer and I have been in the process of getting started, finding an apartment, and moving! 

Today is my final packing day and I head out tomorrow to move in to my new place and start work this coming Monday. So busy! I won't have a review for a while, since I'm in such a crazy transitional phase, but I will soon.


Monday, February 18, 2013

Shany Professional 13 Piece Brush Set & Natural Fusion Eyeshadow Palette Review

I bring you two reviews today--the Shany Professional 13 Piece Brush Set and Shany Natural Fusion Eyeshadow Palette.

Super fast synopsis: 

  • Shany Brush Set
    • Don't waste your money. Glue comes out on handles and the brushes rock, unbelievable shedding of bristles, brushes absorb eyeshadow pigment and make it difficult to apply, brushes don't retain their shape...I could go on.
  • Shany Natural Fusion Eyeshadow Palette
    • Amazing, a lot of dupes for Urban Decay Naked and Mac. Highly recommend. Large range from shimmer to matte--absolutely gorgeous. Great buy.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Mini-Haul! Huzzah!

I have a mini-haul for you today! My "hauls" are few and far-between, as I am literally broke in this recession, but I ran out of a bunch of products at the same time and so I have several items to show! I give a brief semi-review of the Everyday Minerals Bamboo Flat Top Brush, as well.

Items mentioned:

Everyday Minerals Bamboo Flat Top Brush
Leopard-Print Manicure Set
Physician's Formula Shimmer Strips Custom Eye-Enhancing Eyeliner Trio for Blue Eyes
Maybelline Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner in Blackest Black
Rimmel Natural Bronzer in 021 Sun Light
Physician's Formula Glow & Mood-Boosting 2-in-1 Bronzer & Blush in Bronze/Rose

If you're interested in the little deals site I mentioned whilst discussing my manicure set, you can find it at 

P.S. YouTube always freezes on the most attractive frame, don't they? Pfft.