Monday, September 26, 2016

THE BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO HAND LETTERING


I am all about that side hustle.

If that side hustle is something you enjoy. My side hustle is hand lettering, which is something I got into a little over a year ago. When I would go shopping for home decor, I found that I was always drawn to pieces that displayed a nice quote in a pretty font. I bought a couple of pieces for my walls, but when I got home I realized that maybe I could do it myself and not pay the sometimes outrageous prices.

I started out by following some very talented hand letterers on Instagram. This is my first tip: when you start, consume as much as you create (but not forever!). You will find different fonts to practice, new techniques, interesting designs and learn about what pens and tools create the effects you desire. Spend some time on Pinterest, too, which is filled with tutorials that will help you practice. But don't spend all of your time consuming! Practice is just as important and it becomes more important as you go.

You don't need any fancy tools to start practicing; that's my second tip. I started out with a pencil and a 99-cent notebook from the clearance section of Wal-Mart. I wrote the alphabet on page after page, trying out different writing styles and practicing flourishes and doodles. When you're ready to upgrade, you still don't have to pay a ton of money. Here are some of the pens and markers I use:



Pigma Micron pens are great for beginners. You can pick them up at your local arts and crafts store and they come is a variety of tip sizes, ranging from 005 (tiny) to 08 (thicker) and beyond. They are great for simple styles and learning faux-lligraphy, which is where you write a word normally and then go back and thicken the downstrokes after. Pentel Sign pens are also a great investment. Their slightly flexible tip makes it easy to thicken the downstrokes as you write––remember, pressure and angle are important! I use those for cursive, serif and sans-serif fonts alike, and they come in a variety of colors. You can get them off of JetPens

Sometimes, though, you may already have the pens you need. I use Sharpies pretty often, particularly the fine and ultra fine points, and have a deep-seated love affair with PaperMate Flair pens. These pens and markets come in a super wide variety of colors and are usually pretty cheap to buy in bulk. Crayola SuperTips are also a great investment. Many professional hand letterers on Instagram brag about these markers (and with good reason). Lately, I've even been using a pack of 99-cent Cra-Z-Art markers.

You still want to keep that pencil and eraser handy. They will help you map out your design before you put any ink to paper, helping you perfect your work. And you don't have to run out and buy thick, expensive paper. Practice in a notebook or on regular printer paper, or buy yourself sketchbook so that you can keep track of your progress. Part of the fun is going back a year later and seeing how much you've improved.

And remember that imperfection is alright, even expected when it comes to hand lettering. That is part of its appeal. It doesn't have to turn into a side hustle; it can be a relaxing hobby or something to use when it's time to send out Christmas cards. But my biggest tip is to practice and, eventually, tip the scales so that you create more than you consume.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

REVIEW: NARS ALL DAY LUMINOUS WEIGHTLESS FOUNDATION


The first time I used NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation––which, by the way, is a mouthful––was when it first came out a couple of years ago. At the time, I had incredibly dry skin that no amount of moisturizer could fix. I went through foundation after foundation, trying to find a formula that wouldn't emphasize my dry patches and would cover my rosacea.

At that time, this foundation was a hard pass. It not only emphasized my dry skin, it also left me looking like I had a ton of product on my face. It just sat on my skin, didn't blend well, and didn't cover my redness as well as I had hoped. One of the claims about this foundation was that you only needed one drop––or pump––to cover your entire face. That wasn't true for me then and it still isn't true for me now.

My skin is currently more on the combination or oily end of the spectrum. My go-to foundation is the Too Faced Born This Way formula, but because I've been breaking out so much lately I decided to try out some new formulas to see if my favorite foundation had betrayed me. I picked up the NARS foundation again and gave it a go. I was pleasantly surprised with the results.

It still took three pumps to cover my face, but it did mask the redness from both my rosacea and my breakouts. It looked a little too matte on my skin, despite claiming a natural finish, and made my cheeks––where is covered my redness––look a little ashy. It also emphasized texture on my skin. For instance, an allergic reaction had caused tiny little bumps to appear all over my face. While my Too Faced foundation made them appear smoother, the NARS foundation made them obvious. Same for my breakouts.

I will admit that other people I asked couldn't really tell a different in the appearance of my skin when I wore this foundation. But I could, and it left me feeling really self-conscious and uncomfortable. f you do try it out, make sure to apply it with a damp Beauty Blender as this foundation is prone to streak marks.

Bottom line, I'm still not a fan of this foundation––especially not for $48.

Monday, September 12, 2016

AFTERNOON TEA | EPISODE TWO


I have been feeling super unmotivated and all over the place lately––you may have noticed my lack of Thursday blog posts these past couple of weeks––so I just wanted to sit down and talk about what has been going on in my life. I started this thing called Afternoon Tea a little over a month ago because I wanted a space where I could talk about my life and feelings with those of you who read this. It's pretty low-key and conversational, laid back like the chats you have with friends over a cup of coffee or tea.

And it's good I named this Afternoon Tea and not coffee because I can't have any coffee at all right now. My skin has been going mad since I decided to go off of the pill last summer and, despite my best efforts, it just keeps getting worse. I am trying to eliminate possible culprits from my life one at a time to see if it has any effect: chemical-laden skincare, artificial fragrances, certain foundation and powders, and now coffee. I didn't really think it would be so hard; I mean, it's just coffee, right? But the weather is getting cooler and sitting out on the porch of an evening with a book, a blanket, and a hot cup of coffee is calling my name. Plus Starbucks just came out with a spicy mocha drink that is so, so good.

I don't know how long I'll last.

Something else I am trying to give up is stress. It's impossible, I know, but I'm just trying to scale it back where I can. That is why I went social media-free this past weekend. I turned off my phone Friday evening and tried not to turn it back on until Monday morning. Unfortunately, my addiction runs deeper than I thought and I had to check my phone late Saturday night before giving in completely (thanks to work-related stuff) on Sunday evening.

Even though I didn't go as tech-free as I wanted to, it was still a relaxing escape. I went to the local arts & crafts fair on Saturday and did a few other fun things throughout the day and, in between times, I read my book outside in the beautiful sunshine. On Sunday I went to the movies to see my favorite film, Labyrinth, on the big screen in honor of the movie's 30th anniversary. It was spectacular... I really have no words aside from I fell in love with David Bowie all over again.

I'm going to try to go tech-free every Sunday, which should be a bit easier now that I've sold my television. The thing was rarely on and I watch most of my shows and movies on my computer, anyway. The journey to minimalism is long and slow, but I'm making progress.

If you're reading this, tell me about your weekend in the comments, or tell me about your tech- or social media-free experiences. 

Monday, September 5, 2016

SOUL GOALS FOR SEPTEMBER 2016



Can you say relaxing weekend? Because that is what I have had. I celebrated my mother's birthday on Friday, spent Saturday and Sunday cleaning and organizing, and today has been a day of rest. I spent the morning working (only a little bit, though!) and the afternoon was spent out in nature reading Women Who Run With the Wolves. It feels like the perfect time to reflect on the month of August and what I can do to make September even better.

What are Soul Goals?

I sit down at the beginning of each month-- or, at least, I try to-- and write out three goals that I have for the month ahead that I think will enrich my life and make me a better, happier person. Interested in coming up with your own Soul Goals? They can be simple or crazy ambitious goals. The important part is assessing what needs to change in your own life and figuring out what direction you want to go in. We're just taking it month by month, day by day, minute by minute here.


My Previous Soul Goals Recap

My first goal was to resettle into an early morning routine which I just didn't manage to do. I tried, I really did, but it just didn't happen. I stay up too late working and then I hit the snooze button so many times that I feel like I have to hop out of bed and get right to work. It's definitely something I still need to work on.

My next goal was to start on my first novel, which I did. I haven't gotten far, but I have started a few short stories and rediscovered some old writing that I intend to work on.

Last was my goal of bullet journaling. I started this and found it just didn't work for me. The pressure to make my bullet journal look nice made the process stressful and time-consuming. I think I need to get a planner that is already laid out and add my own creative elements to it.

My Soul Goals for September

1. Drink 120 oz. of water every day. I was doing this religiously earlier this summer but, slowly, my water intake dwindled. I still get my 64 oz. in daily, but I know I feel and look better when I am properly hydrated, so I need this habit back in my life stat.

2. Finish reading at least three books. My goal for this year was to read 26 books–one for every two weeks this year. I've fallen a few books behind and need to play catch up. Recently I finished The Opposite of Loneliness and The Glass Menagerie, and I am currently working on finishing up Women Who Run With the Wolves and Bad Feminist. Be on the lookout for some reading related posts soon!

3. Sell some stuff! I've realized that I have too much stuff, period, and I need to get rid of it. I spent a lot of August sorting through my belongings and deciding what I can get rid of. Now it's time to let go of it and, hopefully, reap some (monetary) benefits.

My goals are, admittedly, a little boring this month. But that's okay! Not all goals are meant to break world records or inspire awe in people. Sometimes they are just goals that help you get from Point A to Point B. 

What are you wanting to accomplish this month?
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