Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Light and Classic Winter Makeup Routine

The freshness of winter is certainly sometimes a challenge to our skin. Especially in combination with the indoor heating, it can quickly turn into the most difficult skin-phase of the year.
My makeup routine for this particular season has changed over the years. A journey through good and less good decisions, has brought me to a safe place of applying makeup in a classic way, that still isn’t too heavy on the already stressed epidermis.
Most important though, is to prepare the skin optimally, to reduce the overall amount of used products in order to create a less ‘heavy’ look. Which is often the problem in Winter: Many women put on more layers than usually in summer time. The complexion is paler, the rings under the eyes appear much more intense and the overall feeling says “more product, please!”
At an age under 30, the result can be very forgiving. But you often can’t get away with a mask-like makeup beyond that. As great and professional the makeup might have been applied, the daylight will bring out every detail and leaves us too often with a melting or crumbling fa├žade after some hours, that shouldn't have been created that way.
So what I am doing is, stick to my favorite retro-style routine, but with a few crucial changes.
First, I like to wash my face with lukewarm water in the morning. I only pat it half-dry and let the rest of the moisture sink in for a moment.
Moisturizing is one of the best tips I can give you to improve your makeup routine. Especially from the inside! Drink a tall glass of water, right after you woke up. And keep drinking enough water during the day. That way your skin will look plumper and fresher, since dryness is one of the big enemies of a well-looking makeup.

The next step is to use my favourite oils, to nurture my skin. In winter, I like to first apply a few drops of an argan oil-mixture and finally add some sweet almond oil that I massage in gently.
You can find my post about oils as skin care right here.

Now that I’ve waited a moment, its time to apply the foundation. I know that many recommend light products, that others unfortunately often apply in vast quantities, because it all seems to cover up too little.
Instead, I’m using a heavier foundation from the natural cosmetics brand Alverde. And only a tiny amount of the no. 10 ‘vanilla‘, that I directly apply with my clean fingers. Sponges and brushes are an option, but with the perfect mixture of products, the surface should look just fine, applying them like that.

I’m using a bit of light creamy concealer under the eye. The German brand Rival de Loop makes one that is not too colourful and creates enough freshness for my taste. Too much concealing or over- contouring, is not a good idea in my opinion. Even though its heavily advertised at the moment, to put on more than your gentle skin can handle, stronger and brighter colors of a classic makeup, will likely pop in a distorted way.

My powder of choice is a transparent mineral powder by natural cosmetics brand Lavera.
I apply it with a soft bigger brush, unlike compact powders that I usually put on with a powder puff.
But this is supposed to be an extremely light affair. The best way to keep a natural touch, is to use as little coverage as possible, to still allow the light to get a glimpse of your real skin. (There is too much anxiety caused by bigger pores out there)
To contour, I like to use a darker compact powder, if I feel like it.
The rouge is simply fresh, either in peach, or a rosy tone.

The classic eyes don’t always require much drama. I’m using a matte light beige, or champagne eye shadow and a darker, rusty tone for the crease.
I completely skip an eyeliner, or darker tone on the lower lash line. What I focus on, are the lashes. I apply a few layers of my favorite Mascara, Maybelline Volum’ Express in brown. It has a reddish undertone and helps much with my greenish eyes.

For my eyebrows, I never use anything else, than a pencil. I know, it’s THE thing nowadays, to create
bulky brows that look exactly like what they are: drawn on. And they look truly well in certain faces, but not in mine. So I’m using the Alverde pencil in 01. Blond and it works perfectly fine with nicely trimmed lighter brows.

The lipstick I am totally hooked on right now, is the Lavera organic color ‘Matt’n Red’, that has a semi-matte finish and stays on quite long. I’m also using the soft red lip liner no.3, of the same brand.
The red is right in between warm and cool, so it works perfectly fine on paler skin as well as a deeper complexion.

And that’s how easy and quick my classic-winter look goes, with affordable and light amount of products.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Brooches on Coats

Pins on regular outdoor clothing could look a bit strange these days. Since many of the coats and jackets that are supposed to keep us warm during times of extreme low temperatures, are mostly looking like ski wear.
But once you’ve found a nice specimen of a vintage coat that doesn’t look like you’re preparing for a week in the alps, the time for pins has arrived. They are simply a must on a classic coat or jacket, as they are the best tool to upgrade any coat, be it ever so old and obviously used for quite some time.
Traditionally, men‘s brooches were often worn on the shoulder. Women wore theirs slightly closer to the breastplate or at the collar of a coat.
Its often ask where these little pretty items are supposed to sit; left, or right?
There is a saying: Jewelry on the left, name tag on the right. But does that apply to our modern interpretation of wearing pins?

Sure its about personal preference. What makes you feel comfortable, how you wear your hair, what kind of other jewellery are you placing and so on. Also, there might be a stain or small whole on your beloved vintage item, that clearly decides for you where to place the brooch.
For some reason, I personally wear brooches on the left and I couldn’t even explain why.
Recently, I learned that Queen Elizabeth II. does the same and so I feel quite safe in my choice of style in that department.

The tricky part is often, to push the pin through the often thick fabric, or layers, until it’s in the right position. But when that is done, you’ve not only spruced up your go-to items for winter. You’ve also created your very own look with a retro-twist, that is far from a stuffy lady-style and one of the most lovely trends that came back lately. Happy pinning!

Different pieces of jewelry - matching coloring

vintage camel hair coat, ca. 1960s / vintage 1950s leather purse / boots: former season
girl talk

Friday, December 8, 2017

Holiday treats and snacks that won’t make you feel guilty

I’m a big snacker, always was, likely always will be. Holiday season is a special challenge to me when the days get colder, and the evenings cozyer. The big question is: What treats won’t make me feel super guilty after consuming?
Its not really the weight that gets me in panic mode. I am for sure no health guru-follower that focuses religiously on clean eating.
But lets face it, the common sweets and bakery around Christmas and other holidays, are anything but a cleansing experience for our bodies.
No matter what country and culture we live in, no matter if religious or not, celebrating events or not; one thing we all have in common is: We love to eat and please our mind with yummy treats that feel like a gentle stroke over the head. Well done, you are an okay person, now enjoy my sweetness
The only problem is, that most of these short moments of pleasure immediately turn into an inner conflict of the two parties happiness and guilt.
I challenge you to stop feeling guilty and be kinder to yourself. To truly enjoy your holidays and the fact that there are plenty of good things out there that won’t be as unhealthy as eating mindlessly anything ‘bad’.

1. Step: Reducing Sugar

Getting completely sugar-free is maybe too much to ask around the holidays. I too enjoy a few sweet things now and then. Like Cranberry Shortbreads for example.
On my Youtube-channel, you can find a play list, titled 'Vintage Dinner / Retro Food Recipes' and it also contains a video tutorial for this recipe. Or you might go to the recipe Cranberry Shortbread Cookis with Honey to see how quick and easy you’ll get some soft cookies for an extra-yummy treat.
In the video, I used Xylitol as a substitute sweetener. Xylitol is an often used sugar-alternative today and I too have used it in recipes before. That I rely on honey now, is simply because I am not entirely sure about the health benefits, industrialized process and safety, as there seem to be no long-term- studies about it. Caution! To pets, this substance can be lethal, even in small amounts. So please be very careful when using Xylitol in your home. Otherwise it might be still better than using refined regular sugar in these baked goods.

Honey and sugar are both carbohydrates composed primarily of glucose and fructose. But honey is more complex and contains dextrin, a type of starchy fiber. Which makes organic honey my choice of sweetener over sugar for this recipe.

Try also: Banana bread with oatmeal, avocado chocolate pudding, zwieback with honey or my favorite „Apple CinnamonQuark Rolls“!

Nuts & Berries

It might sound boring at first, but believe me, nuts and berries can be super satisfying if you give them a try, instead of the chocolate bar or soft drinks lurking everywhere to be your comfy food.
Plus they are so beneficial to our health, since they're loaded with antioxidants (like blueberries), vitamins and are an overall great source of fiber, protein, magnesium, selenium, vitamin E etc.
When you're not allergic, they sure won't leave you unsatisfied.

nuts, honey & cranberries

2. Step: Reduce the „bad“ ingredients in spicy treats

I can let go of a lot of things when they‘re clearly not beneficial to my health. After all, if learned early in my life that no short moment of pleasure is worth dealing with headaches, stomach problems or worse.
There is just one weak spot that I always reach when it comes to spicy treats: Potato chips.
For years I‘ve tried different sorts of alternatives, but always stumbled over a pack of regular chips and felt bad after finishing the bag within a few minutes, watching a movie. To get that crispy highlight, I went through the jungle of alternatives including homemade vegetable chips.
It didn’t work for me.
Recently though, I discovered organic chickpea crisps that I am already addicted to.
There are several kinds of chickpea and hummus crisps that reach from garlic / Italian spice flavours to classics like paprika and vinegar.
To me, one of the best discoveries for the munchies, ever.

Try also: Hommeade whole wheat pizza bread, chilli ajwain biscuits, garlic breadsticks, or broccoli buns 

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Fur Style in Winter

Faux fur jacket by QED London

Finding coats that match our idea of a retro, or at least a little glamorous look, can be pretty tricky. I know that there are times when you need to be reasonable and wear something that simply keeps you warm during extreme temperatures. But a quilted jacket is truly not my cup of tea.

To achieve a stylish, maybe even glamorous look and stay warm at the same time, fur comes sure in handy. But real fur is something I wouldn’t buy new.
So I love to at least cherish the older fur pieces of my grandmother that, I inherited.
I was often asked what I think about fur in general. it’s a controversy for sure. And for good reasons.
Although I do not have a problem with vintage fur. It is already there and there is no way to undo it.
So in my opinion, it is nice when people cherish what is existent and wear it with love.
The argument, that wearing it advertises a common acceptance is understandable, but not relevant in our society. Because if people want to wear the real thing, they’ll do so. And no one will convince them otherwise. Same the other way around: If you don’t want to wear fur, you won’t start just because you saw someone wearing a mink coat.
It’s about our personal sense for the sensitive subjects.
There are many voices that talk about today’s improved fur industry, which I honestly cannot agree with. But I hope that our conscious mind, our empathy and our gut feeling tells us what to do, to avoid more suffering in this world than already happening.
One might argue that we all need to stop eating meat, wearing leather shoes etc. and I get the discussions, but won’t engage in such. Because at the end, its again what the individual feels right with and that can’t be forced by another person’s ideals.

Fur is not a life-long item.
The longevity of fur can be quite well, as long as its stored and cared for the way it should.
But it will one day be less good enough to wear. So what to do?!
You can donate your old fur pieces to pet shelters. Or coats and jackets you want to lent go of, may find a new owner in a homeless person, that may be in an area of extreme temperatures. If the fur coats is still okay and keeps warm, there will always be a need for it. Unfortunately. But you don‘t need to throw it simply away.

I also bought fur pieces in second-hand shops or wore mine. But as for newer items, I love to rely on faux fur of different kinds. Some are less warm. Real fur of course does the trick when you’re in a temperature range of Siberia. On those days, a faux product needs to be truly good and well-made to reach the same effect. Its also often more expensive than lighter versions of fake fur.
So everyone needs to find their best way with their possibilities and cherish what we can get. To make the winter feel cozy, fun and warm.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

My favorite ideas for last minute Christmas presents

It’s that time of the year again. When the lights are dimmed, the cozy blanket is draped on the sofa and here and there the scent of sweet bakery delights the nose.
It’s also the time of pure hysteria, mini-nervous breakdowns, hustling, over-consuming, over-eating and fighting about nonsense.

Christmas always arrives very suddenly and unpredicted.

Children feel those butterflies in their stomach when impatiently waiting for Santa to arrive.
I remember that excitement vividly and with joy. Grown-ups though, often panic already when the first ads on TV announce the inevitable. The phase in life that gets your blood pressure boiling and pushes your bank account towards nirvana.
Finding a last minute present for someone you truly like and don’t want to disappoint, by giving them a coupon for a facial (please don’t), is one of the tougher ones to deal with.
Finding something for someone who never seems to need anything, is certainly a reason to recourse to a voucher.
But let’s say this particular person is someone who could absolutely use something nice. It should also obviously come from the heart, as well as be thoughtful and affordable.

I’ve relied on a few ideas in the past, that have not been a total disaster and sincerely delighted the presentee. First of all we want to know: What are the interests and passions of the person Santa is going to endow in your name?
Everyone has an interest in something. Sometimes its obvious, other times you have to dig deeper.
A friend of mine seemed to be one of the tougher cookies with no particular passion for anything she didn’t have already. But she loved Downton Abbey.
So, at one point it might look thoughtless or superficial, but the truth is, we all enjoy things more when they really give us something in everyday life.

And what about kids and pets?

If you’re dealing with a person who is a parent to a child or a fur baby, you might want to think about a little basket of baby food. Maybe even homemade? Think of “Country Baby”, the hit food in movie Baby Boom. For a pet, the basket could contain yummy treats, toys, or a chew bone.
Just don’t confuse theses two.

When the person is not a big, or a picky reader

What about their passion in form of colourful coffee table books?

A novel is a wonderful gift, but the truth is:  When you’re not entirely sure that the story or the particular author positively strikes a chord in the reader, its likely going to end up deep down in the dark woods of a book shelf.
On the other hand, when the book is not asking for a lot of attention, but just presents a beautiful collection of the person’s interests, it may be exactly what raises a smile from the one you want to please.

DIY gifts and the ugly truth

I know, do-it-yourself gifts are personal. They come from the heart, or at least emerge from pure desperation when no stone has been left unturned. But let’s be honest: A necklace made of dried fruits or a self-stapled pillow case from a sweater, is likely going to be a challenge for the friendship.
If you however decide to go for such a present, go for the simpler ideas, but make it right.
You could get beautiful jars, or glass bottles with a pretty shape and form, or color. Then you recreate them to bath-goodies that are filled with bath-additives.
Also ornaments of all kinds can be beautifully made. But maybe you want to go for decoration items that can be used over the year, such as something light for summertime.

Vintage items

This one can be difficult, since many old items in good condition, can have their price. So if we’re going for a very affordable idea, we could look for a wallet, or a pretty purse. An old silk scarf can be a beautiful present. As well as a vintage frame, big or small, that the person can maybe use for their dear photo-memories.

Finally, an unconventional gift-idea

USB sticks. Yes, you’ve read it right.
Think about a fun stick in a nice color or a simple one. Put the most precious photo-memories you have with this person on it. Or you might want to store some music. It could also be interesting internet articles and websites the person might enjoy. There are a lot of things and inspiration you can give in form of that one. And after all, they can use the stick itself over and over again.

So, what do you think? Is it really worth flipping out, or should we spend this time of the year with a little less fear and a little more humour and love? I think that would be nice.
To all of you, I hope you’ll have a beautiful December and holiday season. Whether you celebrate Christmas, or not. Be happy, healthy and wise! (Don’t make your friend think they need a facial)

Nice wrapping makes everything more appealing. I love little boxes and bags.
Coffeetable books
USB stick in form of a little Santa
Dress by Paul Costelloe