Monday, February 16, 2015

Hello darlin', take a peek at my new jewelry drawer!

Let's talk about something that's really important and will bring light into your cold, snowy life:  COSTUME JEWELRY ORGANIZATION!

As we talked about IN 2014 I wanted to organize my mess of jewelry in concordance with my bedroom redo.  It felt right.  I'm adulting one drawer at a time.  

So in true Virgo fashion I began a downward research spiral of all the jewelry organization systems on the market until I wanted to die and then made an impulse decision.

Behold the Ampersand jewelry trays from - wait for it - Bed Bath and Beyond!  I feel so solidly Middle Class!  My 401k immediately gained 3%.  I don't think I've bought anything from BB&B in years but here we are, trying to avoid that one weird dude in a blue apron and all the good candy at the front near the checkout.  

I didn't want something plastic and these looked relatively classy and functional for my needs.  They also needed to stack inside my Malm dresser which is another reason I bought two four-drawer dressers and not one six-drawer.  Swedish space.  It's the ultimate luxury.

Not only did I like BB&B's options best I even signed up for their text alerts to get the 20% off coupon so I could get everything on sale.  I drank the Kool-Aid.  Or more specifically I inhaled that poisonous parfum they pump through their vents.  

I would get a text every few weeks and then head over and add another piece.  It took awhile but I'm not made of money.  I'm made of Cubic Zirconia and bracelets that turn my arm a little green!

The reason I went with this line was because of my bangle collection.  I have a few and if I laid them all down in their own individual compartments I'd need another Malm dresser.  So they needed to stand up like the architecture of jewelry that they are.

This collection had a good deep tray where I could stand everything up and still be able to close my dresser drawer.  [MS sidebar:  when I went to link to the products at BB&B's website I couldn't find this large three-compartment tray so maybe it's only in stores now?  I'm sorry.  That's my luck.]  

But my current setup fits perfectly in my drawer and getting ready is infinitely easier.  I'm like a real adult!

I think I could fit some smaller trays here on the right but for now it's fine with some travel jewelry bags, my sunglasses (all the cool people include them with their jewelry) and a giant bowl of pearls.  I wear them only when I'm feeling extra French vintage soooo... that one Halloween party from 2003.  

I feel like I have a lot of rings but apparently all my new rings (post 2003) have big thick bands and so they don't actually fit in the ring organizer part.  Well, damn.  But I needed those big squares so we had to make a sacrifice.

the basement level contains an even more random assortment of vintage jewelry finds and a real (?) Tiffany box.  Anytime I get too big for my britches I look at the Mr. T chain I got at Goodwill next to it and feel at home once again.

I would like to add more trays for all my earrings because although I aesthetically like looking at this mess of metal I can't actually find shit in here.  Except for my Conway Twitty pin on the middle left.  Best $3 purchase I ever made.

I have one deep tray that's half full on the bottom and is waiting for my Mema's vintage brooch collection as soon as I remember where it is...  

The weird thing is that I felt like I had TONS of jewelry but since it's been organized I feel like it's less than I thought.  So that means I should buy MOAR JEWELRY.

I wish I had this kind of jewelry horde:

Sadly, this seems to be all the way in Texas.
Like an embarrassment of fake riches but in neat orderly boxes.  What a perfect metaphor for my life.

All in all I think I spent about $80 total which was spread out over the course of a couple of months so that's not too bad.

Not only am I an organized and sparkly adult, I'm a financially responsible one!

I bet Conway Twitty liked that kind of woman.

After spending twenty minutes going through Conway Twitty pics and songs I suddenly remembered that my Mema - the same one with lots of costume jewelry I've momentarily replaced - also loved Conway Twitty!  It must be genetic.

This post wrapped up in surprisingly delightful and nostalgic ways!

And if you don't think Slow Hand is the best sexiest song ever then I can't help you.

Happy Belated Valentine's Day with that one.

Everyone else in the country wants to be tied up right now and I'm lusting after the lyrics of old country songs.  

Okay so I DID watch Secretary twice this past weekend because James Spader is JAMES FUCKING SPADER so I'm not afraid of non-vanilla things.  

Sometimes I just prefer things in nicely-lined, imitation-suede boxes.

This post has now gone further down the spiral so I'll stop talking before I drag Trent Reznor into this mess.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

My safeword is 'microwave.'

Happy upcoming Valentime's weekend!

Yes, Totino's has a tumblr.

I'm spending the weekend with my first love: Pizza Rolls!  And possibly some terrible smut if I feel like throwing my money away and seeing 50 Shades.  Carbs and kink: what else is there in life?

Normally I won't get within ten yards of a heart because UGH how aesthetically boring, said the fancy design blogger with a Pizza Roll gifs one inch above.  Also, I don't like to wear or surround myself with bright red.  How guache.  *cuts up Pizza Roll with a knife and fork*

However, I'm actually kinda enjoying Valentine's Day this year for some weird reason.  Have the cute vegan sugar cookies gotten to me?  Maybe it's just because I've avoided 110% of all V'Day-related things up until this point so what's a pink heart or two?  Prepare yourself because I even have a post all about pink coming up soon.

I was also weirdly excited about New Year's resolutions earlier this year...??  Apparently I've been bodysnatched and replaced with a happy person filled with "emotions" and "love" in 2015.  Hashtag basic bitch and loving it.

Hopefully I'll be filled with pizza rolls and some second-hand embarrassment courtesy of a very lucky fanfiction in a few days.

Read the best review/thinkpiece-of-shame about 50 Shades here.  

You know where to get Pizza Rolls.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Ranch updates and $KILLET KORNBRED

It ain't always glittery decor fun times and glamorous shopping trips here at the Ranch.  It's real life.  And a real life design blogger/house renovator is full of boring and tedious things in case you were confused by reading other blogs.  Sometimes I am.  

So here's an update about all the boring things I've been doing so far this winter that may result in nice things later.  Or maybe just needed to get done.

First up: the hallway.  My hallway hasn't been painted in about seven years so I figured it was time.  It's also time to give it some art and a rug and generally make it look like a real space and not just a forgotten space.  I think about 50% of my house is a "forgotten space" so I should probably look into that next...

After I painted my bedroom I wanted to connect it to the hallway in the name of continuity!  And I had some paint leftover.  So the hallway went from a weird dark brown to Valspar's Forest Canopy.  Now it looks like my hallway just couldn't contain itself and spilled over into my bedroom.

Sorry for shitty picture.  It's the same color and looks good, swearsies.

Charlemagne cannot resist a camera or opportunity to sit even three inches higher.
When I first moved in and started working in my house rooms were made livable renovated really far apart so they're kinda disjointed.  Looking to fix that in the future.

The hallway took way longer to paint than I had wanted because the weekend weather got unseasonably warm.  Last year at this time was the Ice Hell in Atlanta and the South, remember?  This year, 60 and sunny.  Because of such glorious weather I decided to get a jump start on my yard projects

I know how to mulch but I only had one bag on hand.  Leniency, please.
I'm spreading the gospel of the Plant Swap/Charity and nabbed these mature Aucubas from a friend's house.  They were cut down for removal purposes and half dead so I hope they survive because I think I threw my back out digging these holes.  Hell, one root nub was too heavy for me to even lift so I drug it from the other end of my house to this spot.  You'd think I'd learn by now.

But what the Madame giveth, she also taketh awayeth.

After much deliberation I put four holly bushes out of their misery.

The small one.
Actually it was MY misery because I loathe these plants.  They were huge - the largest about eight feet in diameter - and almost too tall to trim.  Which they needed often.  And every time that happened I would come away scratched and bleeding.  Makes for a cranky Madame.  

Burn in hell, assholes.

I sprayed the exposed branches with Round-Up and in a few weeks/months a pair of strong young men will come and rip the entire stump mess from the ground with some chains and an F350.  Or just me and a nice friend because we are cheaper.  I love demo.  New landscaping will happen this Spring so YAY!  Buying my chiropractor visits in bulk!

I was hesitant to cut them down because they are probably 50+ years old and that seems wrong BUT then I talked to some smart plant people and they said holly bushes are considered invasive (you can see all those miserable runners on the ground up above) and a pest.  OOOHHH well in that case, buh bye.  There were also SEVERAL privet "weeds" (see in top pic) and other shitty vines growing inside the bush which grew at different rates than the holly itself and required different trimming schedules so fuck all y'all, we done.  

There were whole ecosystems inside the holly bushes apparently but being within Charlemagne's reach was not a smart real estate decision, birds.  I'm doing this for your future!

In news of garden projects that I can actually handle, I took a class and made a miniature garden!

The Barn Nursery (a local garden center for you non-locals) offered a fairy/miniature garden class.  I have no desire to put a fairy having tea and flipping through their miniature ipad in a garden but some people built swing sets and houses and lakes and all kinds of shit.  I just wanted to go because they had free moss, rocks and dirt.  FREE DIRT?!  This is what being a homeowner does to you.

Besides, I already had some gnomes at home (my Christmas gnomes from Salt and Ginger!) that needed a home the other eleven months of the year.  

I didn't do a succulent planting because I have enough of those and why not try something different?  So I tried things with, like, real leaves and shit.

I also started some cuttings from my rosemary bush last Fall and look how good these roots are doing?!

These will go in pots this weekend and hopefully all 6 cuttings I started will grow up nice and healthy.  Please pray for me.  Maybe I should get some gnomes for them too.

When I'm not communing with nature and/or mass murdering plants, I've been purging inside my house.  I've been undergoing a massive closet and beauty supply purge, supplying Goodwill for the next year and generally trying to avoid the allure of thrifting and junkin.  

More closet updates later, I'm sure.
Switched to all velvet hangers (and after the purge) I have sooo much space in my closet now.  Let's not talk about the sweaters...

I'm practically living life like a monk!  


I couldn't quite eliminate ALL thrifting and did acquire a couple of these vintage Biltons ironstone dishes for under a dollar and they are amazing.

Those are brown specks, not blood spatter...
Of course, I can't find any more to buy on ebay and the only plates I found where about $20 a piece so thanks for nothing.  This is my punishment for shopping when I shouldn't have.

In other kitchen "news" I got a cast iron skillet for Christmas this year!  So metal.  I asked for one because everyone - Mormon moms to hipsters to grandmas - seem to have one and rave about it so it seemed like the right thing to do.

What the MS Ranch looks like now.
I must say it's heavier than hell and it seems to require a nightly rub down and is more moisturized than my skin so I'm not sure I made the right request from Santa.  Did I?  I WANT THE $KILLET KORNBRED!

$KILLET KORNBRED is the name of my neo-bluegrass Insane Clown Posse cover band.

Hey, y'all remember when we talked about a haunted pirate house in California that kept burning down called the Cliff House?  Well a reader happened to see the postcard I included and sent it to me!

How cool is that?!  Thank you, J.  I have such great readers.  Please buy my $KILLET KORNBRED album when it drops.

You may also remember that I started working on organizing my jewelry last Fall and I finally have a solution!  We'll talk jewelry trays next week.  See?  I have follow-through!

The life of homeowner: full of destruction and sparkles and mild to moderate procrastination.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Babes with shields. (And a few hot shirtless dudes.)

Snowed in this winter?  Bored with your miserable life?  Seeing Rand Paul shushing a woman makes your face erupt into flames?  Well have I got the solution for you, friends!  It involves spending all your free time on the couch/heaven watching badass women do badass things.  

I seem to have hit a run of great shows involving women doing amazing things like The Fall, The Honourable Woman, Bletchley Circle and Happy Valley.  All BBC shows with great female leads while Viola Davis is over here holding up the entirety of America.

[MS sidebar: I'm not sure why every show about women has to feature the brutal imprisonment, torture and raping of women but it does so take heed and maybe spread these shows apart in viewing.]

And although this show doesn't technically have a woman lead, I've become obsessed with the History Channel's Vikings.  Like, I watched the entire series - two seasons - TWICE over the holidays and through January.  Back to back.  Like a psychopath.

I thought it would be a poor man's Game of Thrones with the production value of Sharknado and I was proved wrong.  It has an actual plot, is beautiful to watch, full of good music and ancient magic AND I done learned some things.  Thanks, History Channel! 

I'm not gonna lie, this helped:

And this:

As well as Alexander Skarsgard's less conventionally-attractive but exponentially more talented brother:

I personally think he's the more attractive one but I'm a weirdo.
But a whole helluva lot of love for the show is because of this woman:

This is Lagertha (read like LAGertha not laGERtha which is how this hillbillly would have said it).  She's based on a real woman and is married to Ragnar (the lead, also a historical figure) on the show.  Lagertha is special because she's a shieldmaiden and will destroy you in battle.  I just love the word 'shieldmaiden.'  


What's nice about the Vikings is that women could be warriors and hold positions of power and divorce their husbands and have some semblance of equality.  Well, as compared to other historical times.  Utopia this was not.  But you can feel pretty comfortable watching this show.

I mean, careful of the intense bloodlust and battle scenes.

And you don't need to have watched the show to appreciate this appreciation post.  Just enjoy the aesthetic details and communal celebration of women kicking ass and taking hard-to-pronounce names.  

And celebrate monumental braidwerk.

Braids on fleek, said the old white lady.
I mean shit gawddamn.  Take a moment to marvel at the neckline here.  I wish Target would have a line of Lagertha-inspired clothing.  If Olivia Pope can make it to the masses then I think we need a Viking line.

Gladiator, indeed.  

Can ANYONE rock a dead animal and a murderous glare quite as effectively?  I think not.  

And this bad bitch knows it.

But she has a soft side and an appreciation for white kittehs so I feel maybe we are kindred spirits.

Just a warrior angel, chillin' in some Norse finery and a braided fauxhawk.  

Fun fact: the actress that plays Lagertha, Katheryn Winnick, is a third degree Black Belt in Tae Kwan Do, a second degree Black Belt in Karate as well as being a licensed bodyguard.  

I groaned when I picked up the laundry basket earlier...

That is an accomplishment in itself - the extensive martial arts training not my feat of strength - but my pet peeve is watching a woman in an action role with absolutely nothing but a pretty face and an uncomfortable lack of coordination and body awareness.

This is not one of those actors.

I also appreciate the fact that she wears real armor and battle gear and not the metal corset courtesy of Victoria's War Secret that many female fighters end up wearing.  Don't forget to look super sexy while you're decapitating someone, ladies!  

Legend (Wikipedia) says that the real Lagertha fought just like a man with only her hair giving away her gender.

I kinda wish there was a Brienne of Tarth and Lagertha crossover moment.  They would make a vicious blonde duo.

I hate the concept of 'penis envy' but that sword is definitely a dick in this gif.

Back-up bitches.
And lest I linger to long on my lesbian crush this talented ladyperson, there are plenty of other fine ladies on the show too for your enjoyment too.  But shieldmaiden, y'all.

I'm gushing about all this right now because the third season starts SOON on February 19th and that gives you plenty of time to binge watch the first two seasons!  You have over TWO WEEKS! 

Season three doesn't seem to disappoint because we have more braids and dope weaving:

Can I say dope?  I can't think of another word that expresses my appreciation and awe.

There's just a lot more costuming wonderment in general.  I think this is a combination of a crushed velvet and leather lattice cape, vest made of the skins of weak Englishmen and some statement jewelry.  What's not to love?!

The History Channel appears to have its own tumblr (??) dedicated to Vikings and they posted this A++ video (sorry, can't embed) to recap the show.  The whole video message is "HOT SHIRTLESS DUDES.  BABES WITH SHIELDS."  How could you not respect that?

So even though I've fallen down the rabbit hole of historical tv (HAHA JK I live there already) lately with my Outlander appreciation, I still think y'all would really dig this show.  You can watch it on Amazon, Hulu or just where you can watch them all for free (no cable subscription required). [Update: it's apparently only the second season on - sorry!]

And if you think I might be a fan, please take note of this:

From Katheryn Winnick's Instagram
Well at least it trumps a Tweety Bird tattoo.

All pictures gathered from my internet adventures on History's website and blog and tumblrs like vikings-shieldmaidens.  Sorry, I didn't really plan for this post to happen so... 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Maybe she's born with it, maybe it's butter face.

You guys really got to the heart of my New Year's post a few weeks ago: proper moisturization (taint or otherwise). My face has been struggling this year and it probably has something to do with getting older or that I'm mutating X-Men style into a new race of desert people.

If you're anything like me (an unnaturally dry Eve of mutant peoples?) then maybe you could use some help this winter too.  Below is everything I've been using and recently recommended to me and please throw in you favorite moisturizers in the comments so we can be moist and dewy together.

Currently I'm using Extract Face Cream from Good Fortune Soap (a Chattanooga company).  Not greasy, has hyaluronic acid (super moisturizing and you can buy it in pill form surprisingly), gets the job done, excellent base.

I layer that with Goldenseal Moisturizing Cream from Sleepy Hollow Herb Farm (another local company).  I LOVE the Goldenseal moisturizer and recommend it to everyone, local or not.  They grow their own Goldenseal which is some kind of magic herb and it's great for all kinds of skin issues - eczema to bug bites.  It's really calming and soothing to my angry face.

I bought Shikai Borage Dry Skin Therapy on a whim a few years ago when I was having MAJOR skin problems and it was amazing.  Angry face became incredibly happy face.  Apparently borage oil is the shit but now I can only find this stuff online.  I expect it to be discontinued soon.

At night I usually follow all that with some tamanu oil which I know I've talked about before and still use and love.  I usually layer multiple moisturizers even in the summer so the fact that I do this shouldn't reflect on the quality of these products.  I have not-great skin that requires a lot of attention - more than I'm willing to give, honestly - so I'm not a one-product gal.  

But even this layers-of-flavor-strategic-moisturizing didn't work this year. At the end of the day it looks like I have a mild sunburn the way my face is flaking off.  I had to take matters into my own hands and go to the ModSauce Ranch Laboratories.  Shea butter is heaven on my body so why not my face, right?!  So I melted a couple of ounces of raw shea butter with an ounce of a mixture of Josie Maran Argan Oil and tamanu oil then whipped all that into a cream.  Everybody just has that stuff laying around in their medicine cabinet, right?  

Well I was bragging about my luxurious new face cream when my Twitter friend and beauty guru Genie of @EBArchDesign yelled at me about putting shea butter on my face because it can cause breakouts.  Well, double damn!  I thought I had solved the world's problems!

Don't tell her but I still use it sometimes and haven't had any breakouts.  But I did promise to graduate to more "adult" products.  Use shea butter at your own risk, apparently.

Fortunately I DID find some Clinique Moisture Surge, $39, in the back of my bathroom closet and have been loving it the past week or so.  Past me was very smart to buy it then I guess I got dumb in the summer and forgot about it.  Goes on like a gel so if you need moisture but hate the greasy, sticky feel then this is your jam.
Genie did recommend some things to me including Hydraluron, $20, which is the purest form of hyaluronic acid so there's that.  I've been looking for a serum to wear under my moisturizer so this will probably be my next purchase.  

She also recommended Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate ($46), Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair ($92 and I think a cult favorite) as well as this La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Accelerator Pro Recovery ($18).  She said it was developed for burn victims so I'm guessing it should be good enough for my chapped face.

A Ms. Anonymouse commented on that post about her love of Josie Maran's Argan Infinity Cream Oil, $28, which sounds heavenly.  The creamy oil part intrigues me.  What kind of magic science is that?  

Jamie, another sweet commenter suggested a moisturizer with urea in it like Udderly Smooth, $15.  Urea is like the store brand name of urine but don't freak out.  I KNOW I remember supermodels back in the 90's - probably on Oprah - talking about how the get up in the morning, pee on a wash cloth and then press it to their faces for their beautiful complexions.  If Linda Evangelista can have a pee face then gawddammit we can too!  

I think Udderly Smooth is made for the body but they say it can go on your face fine.  Don't get snooty, pee face.  I kinda like the idea of having ONE jar of something and being able to use it from head to toe.  

I use a mixture of stuff on my body depending on what smell I want but it usually involves a butter.  I make my own mix of shea butter and available oils (do you sense a trend?) based on this basic ratio.  I recently came across this recipe using coconut oil and coconut butter and it also sounds divine.  

I love the way coconut oil smells/feels but don't like its moisturizing qualities alone.  I actually use it to remove my makeup and it feels so luxurious.  But mixed with cocoa butter?  I needed to research.  So I bought some good, old-fashioned Palmer's Cocoa Butter, $7, because I don't think I've ever used cocoa butter before...

Honestly, I'm rather enjoying it.  It does have mineral oil in it which I heard is bad for skin but cocoa butter smells incredible so I don't care.  I used a small tub in two weeks.  

I'm not exactly sure the difference between shea butter and cocoa butter - the internet says shea is more healing for cuts, bites, infections, etc. but cocoa butter just smells sadamn good...  Your call.

If your body skin can't find relief with shea butter, cocoa butter and/or urea then you might want to consult a professional.  I have yet to find a body moisturizer that works as good as these that is non-greasy and absorbs immediately so you are warned.  Do not try to put leggings on in a hurry after an application.  For a more light weight moisture I sometimes use Kiehl's Creme de Corps body lotion in the summer that has an SPF but I get lazy.

Don't forget the best, non-greasy salt scrub I make too since we're all DIYing all the skin things!

I don't really use a specific hand cream because I only remember to use some right before I'm going to do a very important, highly precise task like playing Operation or trying to open a bunch of tight jar lids and my greasy hands might as well be stumps for how useful they are.  However, the other day my fingernail snagged on something and when I went to undo it I realized it wasn't my nail but THE SKIN NEXT TO MY NAIL AAAAHHHHHH.  I'm like a farm animal.  BUT NO MORE!
This tiny tin of Burt's Bees Hand Salve, $6, fixed my hooves in about three days so I won't be Madame Scissorhands anymore.

I think I left of foot creams but I just put socks on and call it a day. But the Udderly Smooth is supposed to be great for feetsies.

I think that's all of the moisturization tips from myself and my helpful team of beauty gurus - thank you, ladies!  My goal is to have some part of me be slightly greasy from December through March.  Except my face but we're working on that.  *greasy fingers crossed*

I have a feeling that it might be necessary for turning this mutant desert face into a dewy, sticky visage with the help of BB creams and better liquid foundation but I can only do one thing at a time.

Leave your faves in the comments!  Happy greasing!

Update!  The loverly @AndreaWolper recommended REN's Vita Mineral Daily Supplement Moisturizing Cream and Josie Maran's Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 47.  Thanks and noted!