Category Archives: Beauty

Beauty

DIY Boots Color Upgrade

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In recent years my twin sister has been indulging her once suppressed passion for boots. We have way too many, and that's coming from someone with her own collection of shoes piled up in the closet. She has boots in all kinds of colors, fabrics, styles…you get the idea. And yet when I looked at her array of boots I realized she still had too many sensible-colored boots. My creative beast stirred…

I mean look at how plain these look! It's begging for a color upgrade!

So I approached her with this idea to add a pop of color to her black boots. She jumped up and said, ” I want that metallic blue color you have!” This is why I love her. So here's how I accomplished this:





Stuff You Need:

A pair of boots with a heel that isn't covered in fabric (stacked heel or stiletto)

Artist's Tape (anything low-tack to keep from damaging the boots)

A bottle of acrylic paint (any color you like really, but if you can find that exact color in a spray can, I'd get the can for easier application)

A paintbrush (if you choose to hand paint like I did)

A can of glossy or satin finish acrylic sealer

Alcohol swabs for priming and clean-up

Paper towel (helps with masking)

 

Steps:


Step 1

Tear up small pieces of artist's tape and overlap them over the boot, making sure to mask off the heel. If you plan on spray painting, you can put a plastic bag over the whole boot except the heel, then tape it down.


Step 2

Wipe down the heel with an alcohol pad. This is just to clean the surface before you start painting.


Step 3

Not only does it look nice, but applying tape over the very bottom of the heel where the tread sits is practical. There's really no point in painting this part.


Step 4

Start painting! This is the color I went with. I just squeezed it onto a notepad and went my brush a bit before application. You want to make sure you pick a color that is opaque, not transparent (or you'll be painting forever). This is where you can get creative. I went with a solid blue, but you can actually mix in glitter, add decals, or get some other colors and paint on patterns or textures.


Step 5

Apply a few thin coats, leaving time for them to dry before adding the next one. What I then did after about 2 coats is slowly and evenly apply a thicker layer for the more solid appearance. I didn't want streaks, but you could easily accomplish this if you wanted the look…in multiple colors…whoa!

Ahem, tangent over…

Here's the opacity you should end up with:

This next part is tricky…


Step 6

Spray painting would have made this part a bit easier, as you can probably achieve a good coating quickly enough that you can remove the tape while it's wet and get a clean line. This isn't so with hand painting. You will need to slowly and carefully remove the tape. You can put a straight edge against the heel as you remove the tape to minimize any peeling.

Even if you peel off a bit of paint, I've found a quick touch up with the brush blends right in, no muss no fuss. You may also face the issue of paint leaking underneath the tape. I certainly did. Which is where the alcohol pads come in. It will wipe right off if your boot's made of leather. If it's suede or some porous or soft fabric you will have to be more careful and delicate. A little warm soapy water will definitely help no matter the fabric.

 

Step 7

I could have left the heel as is. But I wanted shine! So I decided to use an acrylic sealer with a gloss finish.

I masked the heel again once the paint was completely dried. Since it's a clear glaze, I just used paper towel to generally cover the boot.

Go to a ventilated area and spray lightly over the whole heel. If you get too heavy on the application, it'll drip.

See the difference?

The sealer is a lot easier to wipe off, especially with a wet paper towel used right away.

The finished result?

Yeah!! Worth the effort, for sure!

I hope this post inspired you. I had a lot of fun doing this, and it certainly won't be my last little project either, so stay tuned!

 

The Beauty Benefits of Dark Chocolate

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There's a reason dark chocolate (or to be absolutely technical, cocoa) is considered a superfood. It's good for you inside and out and in many ways. I'm going to tell you how and why in 3…

2…

1!

SMOOTH SKIN

More and more spas are adding chocolate masks, scrubs, and other skin treatments to their services for a reason. In fact, long before this chocolate craze we've been using a very common component of chocolate on our skin: cocoa butter. We already know what that does for your skin: it conditions, soothes, and hydrates with regular use. But there are benefits to the skin besides this. Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which are also found in teas and wine, and it's these compounds that are the key to its antioxidative properties. They are also the reason why dark chocolate is bitter! The higher the percentage of cocoa in the chocolate, the higher the percentage of flavonoids you will get. For perspective, consider that milk chocolate has much less than 10% cocoa…so not quite as beneficial compared to the intense dark 88% cocoa bars you see nearby.

Applied topically, dark chocolate helps smooth out your skin and reduce wrinkles, again due to the antioxidative qualities of the flavonoids. In addition, dark chocolate stimulates microcirculation (more blood to your skin to keep it nourished and healthy), restores skin elasticity (thanks to the cocoa butter that naturally exists in it), and reduces inflammation.

While you may be tempted to grab a chocolate bar, melt it down, and then slap it on your face, I wouldn't advise that. To get it in liquid form you would have to use a double boiler or microwave and keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn! That's a lot of work for a 15-20 minute skin treatment… instead, you should get unsweetened cocoa powder. It's much simpler to add some warmed ingredients to the powder and get the perfect consistency. In addition, you should know that cocoa powder is even more pure than the commercially available dark chocolate bars. It contains almost 100% cocoa.

 

 

WEIGHT LOSS

We've all heard about this one! And the reason is pretty simple: there is much less sugar in dark chocolate. How many times have you been told that simple sugars are empty calories? It's true. So while you may be able to eat a whole milk chocolate bar in under 10 minutes, you'll be hungry later. Then you're eating more and more while those calories accumulate. Pretty soon, your jeans don't fit like they used to.

Dark chocolate's main ingredient isn't milk or sugar. It's therefore more satisfying than milk chocolate. Perhaps the fact that it melts more slowly in the mouth also helps with satiety, just like eating more slowly and taking smaller bites help you control your eating. It's because of its lower sugar content that it not only satisfy your cravings, but also trains your taste buds over time. After regular consumption, you'll find that milk chocolate bar you loved so much to be too sweet. Your cravings for salty and fatty foods also get reduced in the process. A little dark chocolate after dinner can help keep you from midnight snacking, too.

 

STRESS RELIEF

This is a beauty benefit to me, simply because there's nobody more attractive to people than a happy, relaxed person. And yet, overeating is often associated with stress. As I just mentioned in the last section, dark chocolate is more satisfying and reduces your cravings. Well, it just so happens that it helps with weight loss through mood improvement as well!

Research has shown that a little dark chocolate every day for at least 2 weeks can significantly reduce a person's anxiety and stress hormone (like cortisol) levels. No anxiety, no ice cream binging. And when you feel better, you look better. Happy = Healthy = Beautiful.

 

SUN PROTECTION

Boy, these benefits are starting to add up! And like I mentioned in a previous post, it was after learning about all of this that I realized I could totally get used to the taste (and topical use) of dark chocolate if it meant I would be this much better off! Granted, this particular benefit doesn't really apply to me, as I'm a woman of color and therefore, I don't sunburn easy. What am I talking about?

Researchers in London found that because of those lovely flavonoids in dark chocolate, when you eat a little bit of dark chocolate for at least 3 months (are you seeing a pattern here?), you can prolong sunburn. Consequentially, this prevents premature aging of the skin and wrinkles. This doesn't mean you should nix the sunscreen! It just means that you have yourself a pretty great supplement to your UV protection routine.

 

HEALTHY, SHINY HAIR

Not only does dark chocolate improve circulation (as mentioned before), but it also contains minerals that promote a healthy scalp and strong hair.

Making a hair mask with that unsweetened cocoa powder can also add some nice shine to your locks! I go with a 3-2-1 recipe: Mix about 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder with 2 tablespoons of warmed honey (ideally raw) and 1 cup of low fat or greek yogurt. Apply however much it takes to cover your whole scalp and hair (longer hair means doubling this recipe to be safe). Put a shower cap over your scalp and hang out for about 20 minutes before you wash it out thoroughly with shampoo (preferably the clarifying or volume-enhancing kind).

 

Given all these beauty benefits alone, perhaps you're considering making the transition. Maybe you already enjoy dark chocolate and are happy to know it's good for you in these ways. Maybe you're already planning your Chocolate Spa Day with your friends! So I'll add some final take-home points you should remember:

  • Eating a little bit of dark chocolate is the key. It should be somewhere around 1 to 2 ounces each day (this is about 1/3 of a standard-size chocolate bar). No more than that! After all, dark chocolate still has sugar and calories.
  • When you are making skin or hair treatments for yourself, unsweetened cocoa powder is best because it contains the most flavonoids. You won't mind that bitter stuff on your skin as much as you would in your mouth!
  • It seems that incorporating it into your regular diet as an after- or between-meal snack is the best way to go for the longer term benefits like mood enhancement (at least 2 weeks) and sun protection (at least 3 months).
  • As I mentioned earlier– as well as in my last post about chocolate— it's the flavonoids that cause chocolate to be bitter. I also mentioned that flavonoids are also found in teas and wines. So you may wonder, ” Why not drink alot of that too?” Well, if the naturally bitter taste is an indication of their presence, I would say dark chocolate still contains more of these compounds. Also, too much of anything, especially alcoholic beverages, has proven to be more harmful than helpful anyway. Having said that, I do have a great dark chocolate tea recipe I will share in a later post for anyone interested!

I hope this has been as enlightening for you as it was for me to research all this. If you have any input on the topic including any more skin or hair treatment recipes, let's talk! I'd love to know more!