Friday, July 22, 2011

The Nail File: Polish OCD

I may be displaying my slightly obsessive side here, but I found a clever way to keep track of what nail polish I already own.  I just spent the last few hours making a Filofax-portable file of all my polish so that when I compulsively buy it, like the addict I am, I won't buy a color I already have.

So, step one, I cut fairly thick sketch-pad paper to Filofax personal size (I just used a sheet from my filo) & punched holes:

Next, I lined up all my polish by color.  I considered doing it by brand but I'm generally not fussed about the brands I use, & the whole point of the exercise is to not get duplicate colors, so rainbow it is:

Then I wrote down the name of each color & painted a swatch, in 1-coat, 2-coat, & 3-coat varieties:

So there you have it!  Maybe a little bit fanatical but useful, no?  The swatches are taking quite a while to dry so no pictures of them in my Filofax yet!  But one day I promise to show off my filo!

Also, new nails!

Sinful Colors Hottie over Revlon Minted!  I love this!  Sparkles ^_^

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Cupcakes! Nail art! Oh my!

I am getting waaay into nail art!  After being thoroughly chided about my previous nail care techniques by a woman who has only had a few years of experience being female compared to my twenty-two, I started obsessively scrolling through every nail art tumblr I could find.  This led me to a fantastic set of tutorials which are in Korean but with plenty of pictures to make it clear!  So last week I wore my nerd cred right on my fingers with...

...Pokemon nail art!  I completely loved this, my very own Pikachu gazing up at me from my hands :3  But after a week or so little bits of Pikachu started to flake off so on to...

...cupcakes!  This is from an extremely cute blog I found, Cupcake's Clothes.  I totally adore this girl's style.  One day I too will own adorable lolita dresses!  & petticoats!  & pale blue tights & pretty pink bows...sigh.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

OPI Black Shatter

I bought a bottle of OPI's Black Shatter nail polish the other day.  It's been available for a while but I hadn't been able to find it until recently.  It's a bit hard to get used to, so I thought I'd do a quick review.

It doesn't work at all over dark colors in my opinion; I tried it over a dark purple & it did nothing for me (I'm looking forward to the silver version that's coming out soon though).  It also doesn't work over a topcoat.  When you paint it on it kind of shrinks & turns into little blobby-crackly shapes & it doesn't seem to separate as well, just getting streaky instead.

I went for a bright color underneath so I'd actually be able to see the black on top:

This is OPI's Cajun Shrimp, which I love.  It's a little more orange than it looks in the picture, but it definitely falls somewhere on the pinker/redder side of orange.

Once my color was dry I painted on the Black Shatter.  You have to have a decent amount on the brush.  It dries really, really fast & if your first stroke starts to dry when you put on the second stroke, it will stick all together & get messy.  It also seems like the more you put on, the better it breaks up into chunks.

I did my index finger next to last & you can tell that I was getting better at it!  The finish of the shatter stuff is pretty matte, so I added a shiny topcoat:

I should have thought to put a matte topcoat on one finger just to see how it looks, but I didn't!  The black parts are a little lumpy and bumpy, which is really visible in the shine of the topcoat.  A matte finish might actually be better for this.

I would like it if the cracks in the polish would be bigger so that more of the color could peek through...I think that I need to keep practicing the application.  This is definitely a nice way to change it up if you're tired of plain color, although it's definitely a pretty casual look.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Things I Have Learned as a (Substitute) Teacher


Teachers are only people who are one page ahead in the book.

The shorter you make the instructions, the more likely they are to be followed.

If you want to project authority, stand, don't sit.

Nothing sounds as good as silence.

Free periods are more of a relief for the teacher than they are for the students.

Nap-time should be extended into high school.

Telling a middle-schooler to stop talking is like telling Lady Gaga to put on pants.

Sometimes it is easier to pretend you are blind & deaf.

Letting your students know that you're only human reminds them to treat you like one.

Grown-ups need snack time too.

School spirit was never about your school's colors or sports teams or anything like that, it was always about you, your friends, & the people you were becoming. (I wish I had learned this one while I was still in school!)

Children have extremely short memories - use this to your advantage.

Silence speaks louder than a shout.

A box of tissues is a necessity in kindergarten & a distraction by 5th grade.

Let sleeping students lie.

Age has nothing to do with how grown-up you are.

A bribe is something you offer as an exchange, a reward is something you give after an achievement.

When in doubt, fake it.

The higher your expectations of a person are, the better they will perform.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Take me to the forest...

I feel a little embarrassed for being so unaware of mori girls before now.  Apparently the style began in Japan a few years ago & took off.  I completely love it!  It's fairies & cabins & trees & tea & all the things I love rolled into one.  I have to admit, my personal style was turning into something somewhere between "sexy librarian" & "I don't know..." & this is exactly the kind of thing I needed to discover to set me straight again.

There's something so appealing in the simplicity & carefree attitude about this style that I can't help but think is missing in my life.  You can't look at these pictures & feel stressed!

It reminds me of picnics in the forest & books I read as a child & exploring the woods with my cats & all the things I wish I was still doing.

The one thing I'm not crazy about is the bagginess of the style.  I'm not a small girl (5'11"!!) & baggy clothes make me look like a circus tent!  I think I would stick to more relaxed fabrics & silhouettes but keep the overall shape a little slimmer.

Frida Kahlo via

Discovering this has made me excited about buying clothes again!  I'm still trying to work out exactly how I'd execute the style but I did go ahead & make a polyvore of it!

Here are a few links for inspiration!
Mori girl blog
Mori girls tumblr
Mori girls Livejournal community
Vanillery Garden has an awesome class that I want to take!

Love <3

Friday, October 1, 2010

Five of my favorite drugstore cosmetics

Hi, my name is Rachael Ariella, & I am a total makeup addict.  I have a problem.  I stay up late reading beauty blogs & fantasizing about Urban Decay eyeshadows.  I spend hours loitering in Sephora, much to the annoyance of the salespeople.  I watch hour after hour of makeup tutorials on youtube.  I practice my smokey eyes all evening long until my eyes are red.  I organize & re-organize my makeup boxes.  I go to craft stores just looking for artists' brushes that could be used for makeup.  Like I said, it's a problem...a problem because I can't afford all the makeup I wish I had!

When it comes to cosmetics, I think the saying "You get what you pay for" tends to be true.  I've usually found it to be the case that higher priced makeup is of better quality.  But I'm not rich, which is why I'm always so thrilled when I find some cheap (relatively) but good stuff at a drugstore.  So what follows is a list of some of my favorite cheap buys in makeup.

1.  Covergirl Eye Enhancers eyeshadow
I have a ton of these eyeshadows in my makeup box, & I love them.  They come in a really good range of neutral and wilder colors, & the pigmentation is really pretty good.  They have decent staying power & actually blend nicely, something I haven't always found to be the case with cheaper eyeshadows.  They really come alive though when you get them wet.  I use them all the time instead of colored liner, & they work really well that way.  The color gets really rich & vibrant when you apply it wet, & they are pretty long-lasting too.  It's also really nice that they come in a one-color package.  There's also three & four color sets, but I hate having to buy three colors I hate for just one that I want.  The singles are a good size, & I feel like I'm getting a lot of product for my money. 

2.  Rimmel Soft Kohl liner
I really like this liner for a basic black kohl.  I had gotten some of Rimmel's Exaggerate liner (in Noir) before & it was okay.  It seemed decent when I first put it on but the more I used it the less satisfied I was.  It didn't go on that smoothly & it didn't stay on my waterline for very long at all, but I kept using it because it was the only black liner I had.  Eventually I ran out, & when I went to buy some more I picked up the Soft Kohl by accident.  I was a little mad when I got home & saw that it was a normal pencil that had to be sharpened (I'm lazy), but it is SO much better than the other liner.  It goes on much more easily, it stays on longer, and the colors are richer.  The one thing I do miss from the Exaggerate liner are these little nubby things on the end that are meant for smudging, but I still have a few of them laying around so I just use them with the Soft Kohl (they always fall off the end of the pencil anyway!)  It doesn't come in particularly exciting colors but they have the basics covered. 

3.  Maybelline The Falsies mascara
I'm going to complain about something that I have no business complaining about now:  I have great eyelashes.  They're long, thick, dark, & curl just right.  I often forget mascara because it looks like I'm always wearing it (actually I can't wear it at all on my lower lashes or I look crazy).  What this means, however, is that a lot of mascara does absolutely nothing for me.  When my friends put on mascara they suddenly look totally different, when I put it on there's hardly any change.  & I get tired of looking at my own natural eyelashes!  I want something for the times that I want to look really put-together.  This mascara does that for me.  I had been using Covergirl Lashblast which I still think is a pretty good mascara, but The Falsies does that little bit more.  It really does make my lashes seem extra long and thick, & really, truly black.  The waterproof version doesn't smudge through the day (although it is a little hard to get off at night).  It has this weird curved brush, which I don't really know how to use (I put it on with the outside of the curve pointing up, is that right?) but it works.

4.  Ecotools brushes
Good brushes are super-important for putting on makeup, & these are really good, really inexpensive brushes!  Although it's true that you can just use artists' brushes that come in every shape and size, generally at much lower cost that makeup brushes, Ecotools just feel so nice and soft.  They also seem to be really durable.  I have a set like the one above that has gone through a few cross-country and trans-atlantic journeys with me & is still in almost perfect condition.  I can't think of anything bad about these brushes at all, I love them!  The only problem I've had is finding anything but the set in the picture...although I'm drooling over the kabuki brush that they make (mine is Smashbox and is really rough and scratchy).

5.  Covergirl Outlast, Maybelline Colorsensational, and Revlon Just Bitten lip stains

I was a little hesitant to include these because I've seen them look really terrible on some people.  I'll start out with how well they can work.  My lips are naturally pretty red so a lot of lipstick looks weird on me, & I hate the feeling of wearing lipstick anyway.  I can barely handle lip balm.  So I really like these lipstains.  They add just a little extra color to my lips without being too dramatic, & it feels like I have nothing on at all.  The one downside is that they are a bit drying.  The Revlon version comes with a little pitiful bit of lip balm, but I just put my favorite balm on over the stain.  The color doesn't last for ages, but nor does it leave waxy red marks on every glass & napkin you use.  Overall I like these, & I think all three are of about equal quality.  They all have a similar sweet smell & taste, which I like but might be off-putting to some. 

Here's how bad they can be.  My mother bought one of the Maybelline ones on my recommendation, and it was awful.  For reasons neither of us can understand, parts of her lips would just not take color, and other parts were garishly bright.  The color also ran a bit into the lines around her lips (although not as much as we thought it might).  But she looked crazy, like she got really drunk and smeared lipstick all over herself.  The product is completely unwearable for her.  I've heard similar stories from other people, or that it wears off unevenly so that they end up looking like a clown.  I suspect that it might have something to do with how smooth or dry your lips are.  In the end, if this stuff works on your lips it can be really great, if not it can be a disaster.  I have a few colors of all three brands and I like them, but try them at your own risk!

Honorable mention: eye drops
While not strictly a cosmetic product, I could not live without eyedrops.  I don't often put them in my eyes, though.  Instead I use them to make longer-lasting eyeshadows and eyeliners.  Yes, water works fine too, but I carry a bottle of eyedrops for any time that I can't just use the sink (I also have this fantasy that the eyedrops make the makeup stay on even longer but I don't know if that is really true).  I assume most people know how this works, but you get your brush wet with a drop or two and dip it into your eyeshadow and line away, or apply it for brighter color with more staying power.  You can get (expensive) purpose-made "eyeshadow extenders" but eyedrops are a few dollars for a bottle and you can also use them when your allergies act up.  I consider this an essential.

What about you?  Have you found any awesome products for cheap?

Friday, September 24, 2010


This article at Single Dad Laughing is really, really amazing.  The desire to appear perfect all the time is something that I struggle with all of the time.  I've come to understand that all it does is make life harder for you & alienates you from other people, because you can't be your wonderful, imperfect self with them.  I've been so worried about appearing perfect at times that it paralyzes me, & I can't tell even the people I love the most what's wrong or ask for help, because I'm afraid of looking weak & exposing my flaws.  It's no way to live!

It's so much easier to own up to your weaknesses & address them, which allows you to begin to let them go.  & it really is easier...keeping your worries & fears pent up all the time is exhausting!  The stress of it all takes a toll on you emotionally & physically.  & really, no one expects you to be perfect, & you're not fooling anyone when you try to seem that way!  Just let go & you will learn how much happier you can be when you are true to yourself.