Makeup Brush TLC

Let me give a little preamble to this post and say that this was officially The Most Awkward Blog Post to Photograph Solo.  Duly warned.

That being noted, I want to talk today about taking care of your makeup brushes.  This is one of those areas where I believe you get what you pay for and it’s worth it to invest in high quality brushes.  I still have makeup brushes I bought when I got engaged and we will celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary this year.

On Sunday evenings, I have a very simple ritual where I clean my brushes.  It’s fast and easy and absolutely worth the effort from both a hygiene and preservation standpoint.

Most department store brands sell their own brush cleaner or you can simply use a mild baby shampoo {cheaper and if you’re a Mom, something you likely have in the house}.


One at a time, I take my brushes and run them under warm water and gently swirl them into some cleaner in the palm of my hand.  Don’t scrub hard or you can damage the hairs of the brush.


You will likely see pigmentation from the makeup in your hand.  Rinse the brush under water until it runs clear and clean.  Then gently squeeze the excess water out.  If the brush has a specific shape like this blending shadow brush, I lightly form it back into its original shape with my fingers and then lay it on a washcloth.  I like to fold my washcloth in half to give a little bit of height so my brushes have air all around them and dry faster.


You’ll notice I also take this opportunity to clean my eyelash curler.  To do this I just take a cotton ball or Q-tip and eye makeup remover and scrub all the eye makeup gunk that accumulates on there throughout the course of the week.

The brushes will be completely dry in the morning and I just take my finger and ‘fluff’ them and they look brand new again.


{Oy – do I need a manicure or what?!}

Easy as that.

I store my brushes upright always to avoid squashing them, plus it’s easier to grab what I want when doing my makeup.


Of course all of this makes me sound way more glamorous than I actually am considering I can’t remember the last time I wore more than face cream and mascara.

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Things I’m Loving

In the past few months I’ve made a few purchases I’ve loved a little more than usual that I thought I’d share with you:

Things I'm Loving


1. All-Clad TK Stainless Steel Tall Rondeau from Williams-Sonoma.  This is the perfect pot when you are cooking a lot of food.  I’ve been using it lately to double my recipes.  We switched all our pots and pans to All-Clad stainless steel about a decade ago and can’t believe how great they’ve held up ~ everything still looks new after plenty of abuse use.

2. Native Union extra long weighted charging cord.  You don’t know you need this, but you do!  It’s extra long, which always comes in handy, and the knot serves as a weight, so when you unplug your device it stays on your nightstand.  Even better, the knot slides so you can place it wherever you want for the most ideal placement.  Finally, it’s a monkey’s fist knot, so you know I love that it’s preppy and nautical {full props to The Husband for discovering this gem and gifting it to me!}

3. Target Champion Heel Tab Socks.  I have a confession to make:  if I were a gazillionaire my greatest odd indulgence would be clean, brand new socks every single day.  There’s nothing like a perfectly pristine pair of socks in my book.  {I’ve got issues, we’ve discussed it before.}  These socks are so soft and are a little bit padded in the heels for comfort.  The Cuties now wear the same size socks as I do, and are perpetually purloining my beloved socks.  Grrrr.

4. Dishwashing Gloves.  Yes, I know they’re technically dog washing gloves, but let’s pretend they’re not since I don’t have a dog and it’s just a little awkward for me.  And these are just so darn nice.  They are extra long so they come up to my elbows, which truly prevents water from getting inside, but more importantly they’re lined!  Since my hands are perpetually cold, this is a very important feature.  Couple this with being a perfect match to my kitchen decor and I really like these gloves a bit more than one ought to like dish washing gloves.

5. S’well water bottles.  I know these are crazy expensive.  But cold water is like the best.thing.ever.  And these will keep your water cold for 12 hours!  As in keep the ice cubes frozen level of cold.  When I first got mine I kept making The Husband drink from it every few hours to prove how ridiculously effective it was ~ even he was impressed.  And they make a larger size that can hold an entire bottle of wine; clearly that can come in handy.

6. Himalayan Pink Salt.  I first became aware of Himalayan pink salt after reading a few articles touting the amazing health benefits of its additional minerals, but after doing some additional research learned it’s not really healthier than other salts.  However, because it’s not a fine grain, most people tend to use less of it, which results in lower sodium intake, which is a good thing, so I like that.  The Felt So Cutes love the taste, and let’s be vapid for a moment: it looks pretty in a clear salt mill on my counter.  So it’s got that going for it.

So what are you loving lately?

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New Old House Dining Room Reveal

While I posted a few table settings over the holidays I haven’t officially shared our finished dining room with you.

Here’s where we started when we first saw the house during a showing: basic brass chandelier, no crown molding, and a chair rail too small for the size of the room.

Large dining room

Because we don’t have an eat-in kitchen, this was an important room to work on as it gets a lot of use; we eat most meals here daily.

We started by adding crown molding and beefing up the chair rail {all part of that “as long as the contractors are in the house it must be better to have them do this too!” dangerous mindset.  Yeah, not so much!}.  The next project was to paint below the chair rail and add a beautiful bronze grasscloth wallpaper from Thibaut.  Finally, we switched out the light fixture for the Sausalito Pendant from Troy Lighting.



And here you can see how convenient it really is for us to eat in this space ~ I literally take things right off the stove to the table.  I was very worried about not having an eat-in kitchen for the first time in a house and haven’t missed it at all.  In fact, I’m loving that we actually use our dining room all the time and it isn’t a wasted room.  {and it’s especially nice to have that swinging door to close when I’ve made a big mess in the kitchen!}


But my favorite part of this room is the new art.

I spent a lot of time in Tokyo scouring Shrine Sales for all sorts of goodies, and  my favorite things to purchase with no real idea what I’d ever do with them were vintage obis {Darling Husband, please pretend you didn’t read that and remember this all worked out perfectly in the end!}.

However, as I worked on this room and unpacked our belongings from storage and the cargo shipment I figured out what to do with those beautiful obis ~ I bit the bullet, cut them and framed them!


And the wall with all four


And of course you can’t miss Mona, our Daniel Kelly fish {named this because her eyes follow you wherever you stand in the room – What?  You don’t name your art?}  She’s such a favorite piece of ours that we intentionally hung her in a place where she could be admired from multiple rooms at the same time.


In addition to holding our china and crystal, the hutch in this room holds a special collection:  our Kiddush cups.  We have cups from The Husband’s Bar Mitzvah and now Big Cutie’s and my Bat Mitzvahs.  There’s a hand-painted one we used at our wedding, ones we’ve picked up in our travels, and even ones The Cuties and I have all made.


That dark blue one in back?  The stem is filled with the crushed glass that The Husband stomped on as our wedding guests cried Mazel Tov and we were pronounced Husband and Wife ~ pretty cool, eh?

So there you have it.  It’s a formal dining room and we use it all the time.  Nothing’s terribly precious.

As evidenced by the literal spit-takes elicited at the dinner table last night.  Where’s an eye-rolling emoji when you need one?

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Containers, Organizing and Labels, Oh My!

I’m pretty sure after close to five years with a Silhouette machine I’ve still only scratched the surface of what this baby can do.  But this week in my continued New Year, New Assessments of the Unpacking of the New Old House I was moving things around in the pantry so they worked a little better and I decided I needed labels {Let’s be honest – does one ever NOT need new labels?}.  I was standing in my local cook’s shop having a Goldilock’s moment – Too Big, Too Small, Wrong Shape… – when it occurred to me I could simply make my own with chalkboard vinyl!

And so I went home, cut a bunch of simple rectangles with rounded edges and grabbed my chalk pen and got to work on the assortment of containers we have in our pantry.  This way, the containers are all still washable, and I can easily change what’s inside them without needing to worry about damaging the labels in any way.



I like that even though my containers don’t all match perfectly, my labels do so it gives a sense of uniformity.

I did find these turquoise bins at the Target Dollar Spot {$3 each} this week that match my kitchen perfectly.  I like that they’re plastic so I can wipe them out in case of a mess.


One of the biggest challenges we’ve had in the pantry has been water bottle storage {I know, life’s tough isn’t it ;-)}.  The bottles used to be stacked where my binders now are {Recipes, Holidays & Manuals}, and were constantly falling over and didn’t quite fit properly in the space.  Once I moved the small snacks to the turquoise bins I could move my wraps and bags to the top pull out wire drawer and put all the water bottles in the bottom drawer standing upright.  They fit perfectly and stay much neater here even if several are out in use.


My favorite part of the pantry still continues to be the tablecloth racks.  LOVE what a simple organizational solution this was and how easy it makes life since we eat at our dining room table for all meals.


And I’m pleased to report it’s been a full week since I reorganized the kitchen and the whole family have been Rock Stars at putting everything back where they found it.  Way to go Team Felt So Cutes!

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Tween Dreams

It was so long ago that I shared Big Cutie’s Teen Bedroom I imagine my readers were getting concerned that Little Cutie has been sleeping in the garage in our leftover boxes.

But never fear, the last project was finished right before the holidays and a few recent birthday additions have been put away and she is finally all set!

Here’s the view from the hallway looking in ~


Art that is meaningful to Little Cutie ~


{From Left to Right: her Hebrew baby naming certificate, her first detailed drawing of our family, her fan from nihon buyo dance classes in Japan, framed candy since we’ve always called her Gumballs, this sign, art from Hong Kong, and a signed Kathryn Brown painting from the book Lullaby to Lullaby}

Now that Little Cutie is a big, bad Middle Schooler she needed a proper desk for her homework.  Four friends of mine have a fantastic vintage shop called Blaze and Bloom where I found this desk.  Except it looked very grown up in teal with sedate knobs.  When I showed them a pillowcase from her room they agreed that simply wouldn’t do and repainted it bold and bright and surprised me with the glam knobs.  There was an audible gasp from The Girl when I pulled it out of my car!


Her bed ~ this makes me so happy!  {You may recognize the wrought iron frame from Big Cutie’s last room in America before we lived in Tokyo – there was some shuffling that happened when we moved our things out of storage and the good news is that everyone fished their wish!}



We donated a lot of old toys we unpacked from storage that The Cuties had outgrown, but a few things were too beloved and sentimental to give up yet.  So the American Girl dolls were boxed up into the attic for the next generation {which simultaneously melts my heart and kills me}.  But we came up with a new use for the Polly Pockets and the two of us turned them into a lamp for her bedside table.


You may have noticed the ragamuffin garland above her bed.  It’s made from several of her old Lilly Pulitzer dresses and skirts.  Some LOLPs {Lovers of Lilly Pulitzer} may find ripping them up to be a sacrilege, but it was a great way to repurpose things we loved, make our own art, and create something she potentially could take to use through high school or even college.


Little Cutie has always been a voracious reader; she loves nothing better than snuggling up with a good book.  So in a moment of sheer ridiculousness we bought her this giant cat bean bag as her big birthday present.  It was an insanely huge hit and we find her curled up in it all the time.  Such silliness.


Another piece of art in the room is her framed bunny.  Little Cutie’s lovey was always this bunny, named Night Night Bunny.  After many surgical repairs we reached a point where I could no longer work my Mama Magic and the fabric was shredding at the touch.  This is a safe and special way to keep him near and dear.


Finally, Little Cutie also received this giant hippo for her 12th birthday.  We’d seen it every week at the grocery store and oohed and aahed over it and laughed at its obnoxious price tag.  And then it was 50% off on Black Friday so The Husband ran over and grabbed it!  Do you KNOW how challenging it is to wrap a gift like this?


And Little Cutie promptly named him George.  Any guesses why?  Hint: from a terrific book series!

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More Kitchen Organizing Projects

We’ve hit the six month point in the New Old House, which means that we’ve lived with how we’ve unpacked our things long enough to see what’s worked and what needs a little tweaking and reorganizing.

This weekend I tackled a few hot spots in the kitchen that are repeat offenders and am feeling like this room is finally complete {minus that missing window treatment still, but I’m working on that issue, I promise!}

So here is where we are with the kitchen ~



{you can see some before pics from the renovation here}

There were two large drawers that were essentially the dumping grounds for all the cooking utensils and serving pieces that weren’t everyday silverware or so frequently used items that they belonged in the countertop crock.  In an effort to repurpose as many trays as possible I opted not to purchase perfectly coordinating organizing containers {OK, who are we kidding?  I wanted to go cheap and have instant gratification}




Even under the sink need a little helping hand {see?  still not matching}


I keep very little on my counter tops, but do have a very essentials near my stove top.  I took this deep cleaning and organizing project as an opportunity to redo my test tube spice rack {you can purchase it here, and I make my own labels to customize my spices}.


And this is where I know I’ve reached new levels of organizing geekiness:  I am really excited about my new Fridge Coasters.  Like inappropriately excited.  I intensely dislike the process of cleaning out the drawers and doors of my refrigerator, and am hoping these will ease this onerous task.  At the very least they look cute.



I even patched, sanded and repainted some damage to a wall.

I’m clearly feeling healthy and am serious about working on this house again.  Be warned people.  I’m about to get crazy 😉

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My Christmas Dinner Table Setting

Yes, you read that right.

No, we haven’t converted.

We’re planning on celebrating Christmas night like so many other Jewish families in America: with Chinese take out and going to the movies!

So our table is ready, incorporating some of my blue and white porcelain, some foo dogs, and some favorite table wear brought back from our time in Asia.



This centerpiece was very simple to make: I used holiday picks in blues and whites in a variety of textures from Michael’s {currently on deep discount!} and cut them to different sizes, and arranged them.

These green bowls were purchased in the Kappabashi kitchen district during our time in Tokyo and are a favorite.  Now that we’re back in America, we use them as often as possible, including for wonton soup!


Not only do we each have a favorite pair of hashi {chopsticks}, but my family gave me a fabulous set of rests for my last birthday in Japan.  They came from a little shop down the street from our apartment that only sold chopsticks and hashi rests, and every time we passed it, we peeked in the window and The Cuties and I would spy these animals and talk about which ones we each would pick!


I found these adorable Hanukkah poppers this year we haven’t had a chance to use yet, so I thought they’d be perfect to add to the table.  You can find them here if you want to stash them away for the future!



Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas and/or Good Fortunes!

Now I’m off to check the movie listings….

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