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FALL FACE FORWARD

10/07/2013

facecleaningfaves

I love perusing the health & beauty aisles of Wegmans. I wander up and down each aisle armed with my stack of coupons and my iPad mini, researching various product lines, eager to try anything new and/or on sale. I’m not especially brand loyal nor am I a completest as far as product lines go. I like mixing and matching different products in an attempt to find things that work well with my – what the cheeky marketing folks define as – “aging skin”. For the most part, my skin is happy, generally event free (bouts of mild eczema notwithstanding) and fairly smooth. As much as I’d like to serve up this list of drugstore beauty bargains as the reason, I’m going to assume genetics play a much larger role that I’d like to credit. Anyway, here’s what I’m currently grooving on skincare-wise. Read more…

WHITE + BLACK + WOOD

05/24/2013

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photo credits 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

I cannot quit these dreamy white, black and wood interiors. These are four of my current favorites. I’ve been taking a breather from home decorating to reassess the areas I haven’t done anything with yet. I would really love at least one room to have this kind of vibe, but I don’t think I could have that going on in every room. I think what most appeals to me is how clean and bright everything looks. I love the artwork and the simple black frames. I have so much stuff to do before I get back to home decorating, but it’s nice to take a breather and daydream with these inspiring images.

CRAYOLA TWISTABLES SLICK STIX

05/22/2013

Crayola Twistables Slick Stix

Reading the negative reviews of Crayola Twistables Slick Stix a wave of panic washed over me as I left the big box retailer (hey, they’re not paying me to be specific) where I had just purchased a set. Most acknowledge how vividly the product puts color on the page. Of course that also applies to walls, Berber carpet, hands, faces and anything else expensive or irreplaceable you happen to own.

Crayola Twistables Slick Stix

Granted, they are a little messy to use, but hey, we’re making art here. ART IS MESSY. Especially, if it’s done right. The color payoff is the stuff of crayon legend. To get this kind of color impact with regular crayon usually involves a lighter and neck vein popping determination. And why not save that neck vein popping for something more deserving like a stubborn jar of pickles?

Crayola Twistables Slick Stix

The crayons are encased in durable plastic and the caps correspond to the shade. But that’s about all those caps do. They refuse to stay posted to the end of the crayon and that could be a deal breaker to people into that sort of thing. (I am such a person). I like my pizza greasy and I like my caps posted! The cap posting issue is also notable because the product is marketed to children. You do not want those caps going ghost. Refer to the opening paragraph for a sizzle reel of likely outcomes. The crayons use a simple twisting mechanism to release more of the point and it was definitely designed with curious children in mind. It clicks as it turns and the click is loud enough for parents to hear it from across the room. Which can put a stop to extending the point until it breaks faster than you can say, “What’s all that clicking? Sophie, are you clicking that crayon again? oh no! Nana’s linen tablecloth!!!”

The Deets:

Very excellent color payoff, particular for a crayon marketed to children
depending on the retailer the price ranges from $6 – $9 for the set. I snagged mine for $5 w/a coupon.
Slightly messy and probably needs parental supervision for younger kids.
Caps do not stay posted, but extended periods without the cap causes no harm to the product that I observed.
color selection could be a little more interesting. Gold and Silver aren’t as gold or silvery as one might hope.

BRANCH PENCILS

05/21/2013

branch pencils

While there are quite a few companies marketing branch pencils, this set of 8 is the brainchild of eco-lifestyle expert Danny Seo, whose blog is filled with eco-friendly crafts and green living tips. I’m not one for nature or the outdoors. I don’t mind appreciating it from the safe, climate controlled confines of a tour bus or someone’s instagram feed.

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Branch pencils are probably as much nature as I can stand. When I spied these at a discount retailer I was intrigued by their attractive packaging and the concept. Lead infused tree branches are probably exactly what old timey settlers and crunchy tree huggers used to draft their grocery lists and personal correspondence.

branch pencils three

The pencils are housed in a nifty wooden box, whose top I immediately repurposed for my index card stash. Each pencil has a unique shape, which I totally found charming. That said, the pencils in the set that curved too much I found difficult to actually use. While the pencils present endless attractive, rustic decor possibilities, the writing performance and experience might leave some people feeling frustrated.

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Personally, I noticed writing with these pencils for more than a couple of minutes resulted in some of the branchy goodness to crumble onto my hands. Handling the pencils can also result in a crumbly mess all over your hands. Some people might not find that annoying, but I did. It was an unpleasant tactile experience causing me to consider wearing gloves when using them.

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Okay, I did mention I’m not super into nature type things! The pencils are approximately 7″ and the barrel is significantly thicker than the average pencil. Even a shade thicker than children’s “my first pencils”.

branch pencils writing sample

The other curious thing I discovered was the graphite does not extend the entirety of the pencils, despite the top of the pencil giving the appearance the graphite goes all the way up. And, of course, let’s not even mention the whittling? Are you into whittling? Well, if you’d like to sharpen these pencils you better get into whittling. Fortunately, my partner has graciously agreed to whittle my points if the need should ever arise.

The Deets:
cute, rustic pencils make a perfect gift for a writer or artist
eco-goodness at an attractive price point: the set 8 of runs about $6.99
a little, crumbly and at times messy to use
not much graphite housed in the twig body
probably need to up your whittle game unless you want to completely destroy these pencils. (Trust me. I did the legwork)
writing performance decent but not amazing.

Well there’s not a literal connection…

BRIGHT LIKE NEON INDEX CARDS

04/23/2013

neon index cards

My neon moment show no signs of ending and since there are only so many surfaces to duct tape neon, I’ve had to look elsewhere to get my florescent fix. Enter: index cards. Now me and index cards go way back. I carried on a pretty tight relationship with grid ruled, particularly for my all-consuming obsession with making lists.

neon index cards

My consumption of index cards to make lists sprang out of an ill fated experience with the “scraps” method. The scraps method involved the use of fancy cut scissors, pretty paper and writing each item on one scrap. The idea was to discard the scraps as you performed a task – all well and good – except I like to archive my lists (that’s a nice way of saying I’m sort of a paper packrat, albeit very organized) . Another bad sign: I actually enjoyed creating the scraps more than I enjoyed executing the tasks they described. I abandoned the scraps method quickly.

neon index cards

It didn’t cross my mind again until I was switching purses and discovered a lone scrap, “Call that dude about that thing.” I’m sure this meant something to me at the time. I also pondered writing a memoir titled, “I just do what the scraps tell me to do.” But that vanished the same time the scraps method did.

neon index card neon lamy safari

I’m not picky about what kind of index cards I use; it’s whatever I find at big office supply box retailers (hey, they’re not paying me to be specific). Neon’s been trickier to track down, unless you’re into purchasing a medley of colors (I am not). I prefer purchasing single color packs. This is to ensure I never get stuck with whatever ashy, unsatisfying shade they’re attempting to pass off as neon orange. I have let go of the bitterness over the quality of the cards. I seem to remember a time when the cards were actually, well, cards and not so flimsy.

neon index cards

I put legitimate list items such as “go to the gym” and ridiculous ones like, “mindchoke deathstar contractors” I’m not sure what this says about me. The cards themselves are probably what prevent me to being totally committed to a single planner each year, though I usually stuff the cards into whatever planner I’m currently using. In this case, a Moleskine mini planner, that I snagged for 75% earlier this year.

neon index cards

Okay after reading this and browsing this flickr stream I probably need to step up my game. I was actually dazzled by the organization and dedication. Though I’m not sure how much time I would have left to devote to other things like sleeping and snarking on people who eat pizza with a knife and fork.

The Deets:
-ultra bright, with pink and yellow being the stand out colors. The blue, orange and purple could use some help.
-3×5 blank on one side, lined on the other
-lined side on some of the cards looks a little crooked (I’m not into lines so it’s not a bother to me)
-pack of 100 cards retails for $1.50 – $2.79 depending on the retailer
-cards are a little more substantial than the white and pastel varieties, but still nowhere near as thick as index cards used to be or how spendy index cards are now.

A little Cut Copy from one their release Bright Like Neon Love (one of my absolute faves.) Always reminds me of spring.

Throwback Thursday

04/18/2013

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Digging through the archives is as easy as clicking on these titles

New Frontiers in Ikea Assembly

“Unless I want to feel badly about myself I avoid perusing the directions accompanying any Ikea product. Instead preferring to view the product fully assembled in the showroom and commit its perfect assembly to memory, which I then refer to as I’m putting the scraps of particleboard I’ve been convinced will magically transform themselves into attractive storage and seating solutions. And frankly, I find Ikea instructions a tad judgey and shaming. Mostly because I can often be observed engaged in the behaviors the instructions have marked through with X’s”

5 Shelter Blog Cliches

“I spend a lot of time browsing shelter blogs while sipping hateraid in a tacky plastic tumbler. You know the kind I’m talking about: stackable, cheesy and usually 4/$1. Perhaps being more craft aspirational than crafty has made me resent the well styled, impeccably edited spaces I view day after day. Or maybe I’m just tired of feeling marginalized because I don’t worship at the church of mid-century modern (because the mid-century was so great for my people).”

Koh-I-Noor Magic Pencils

“Every time I peruse the aisles of big box craft stores I encounter Koh-I-noor Hardtmuth Magic Pencils, usually housed with all the legitimate artistic pencils. Since for the most part I don’t have much use for pencils, I would pass them over, even though they looked fun and are quite cheap. But once in awhile I’d pick one up, fall in love with the weird mix of colors, then remember I’d need to score a fat sharpener, feel overwhelmed and bitter about how high maintenance the cheap pencils were and put them back.”

Crayola Glow Station on the Go

“Once the unit is all powered up, you have to find some place dark. I don’t mean Teddy Pendergrass dark; all the way dark. Thus you probably need to make your peace with your higher power as you climb into the trunk of your car or seal yourself off in a panic room or closet. Then you wait. Based on my experience with the product about two or three minutes of sitting in burnt up skillet darkness should get you there. Then you use the magical sheets and begin crafting your masterpiece. Now the product is not really designed with the ambivalent in mind; you only have a couple of minutes before your creation disappears before your eyes, which happened to me twice I as tried to neatly pen, “does this light pen write?”. And forget trying to photograph it. Between the car trunk, the darkness and disappearing drawings there’s no time to be taking snaps.”

LAMY SAFARI 2013 NEON YELLOW

04/15/2013

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Most days I have the decency not to tear open a highly anticipated package right there in the street, but today was not one of those days! My Neon Lamy Safari from CULT PENS (which was a dream to purchase from: speedy processing, careful packaging and fast shipping) arrived and I am in love.

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Here it is in all of its neon glory. When I first found out the 2013 Safari would be highlighter yellow, I was thrilled. Though I was probably the only person. Seems like this is bound to be a polarizing color choice, but trust me, this pen is gorgeous.

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Grumblings around the pen world seemed reserved at best and disappointed at worst. Lots of calls for navy, purple and I think I even saw someone asking for brown? Well, I’m sorry, but conservative banker colors were just not going to work for me. Not for the Lamy Safari anyway.

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As with all Lamy Safaris the pen is a constructed of sturdy ABS plastic, blah blah blah and yeah, everyone knows all the words to that song.

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I wanted to compare the pen to an actual cheapo highlighter, but oddly enough, I don’t actually own ANY. Here’s a comparison to the yellow Lamy. Definitely brighter and less orangey.

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Compared to last year’s Safari green the pen looks closer to green than yellow, but it’s probably just my pictures, because, honey, this pen is DEFINITELY highlighter yellow.

Neon Lamy Safari

Because you’ve waited your whole life for two pics of me wearing neon yellow magic stretch gloves while holding the neon Lamy…

Neon Yellow Lamy Safari

and the writing sample. Same perfect black Lamy ink.

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