Light Up Room

With all this makeup-ing around I figured it’s high time I get myself some proper lighting. Being renters limits options and planning a ten day road trip at the end of the month narrows them down even more with a small budget. Sure, I could have gotten any of a handful of table-top, plug-in, mirror/lamp combos that run about twenty bucks, but there is a slew of cons.

The mirrors are typically too small. Some made even smaller because of the inclusion of a magnifying mirror; I understand the purpose of them but I will never be ready for that close up. Table top means set height, and I don’t have anything high enough to not have to crouch down, unless I sit at the dining table, and I’d prefer a stationary work space to a portable one. I find it a nuisance to move my craft project to work spaces and back to storage space, why would I want to do that with my makeup?

A sizable (bigger than 12×12 inches) pre lit mirror can run from $150 to $400 plus. The lower end could be reasonable if I didn’t have to sacrifice style, but most of the options are boring or ugly. The high end options, are beautiful but way too pricy for the current budget. All of this made it necessary to think outside of the box and put the creative side of the brain to good use.

After some googling I found an 18×18 inch mirror for six bucks that would only require a trip to Target. I found three-bulb bathroom vanity lights on Amazon and picked up three for $52. I got three plugs as well ($7) to make them plug in instead of hardwired.


The biggest challenge after all that was making sure I had the right bulbs. Ones that cumulatively gave off not only enough light but the right kind of light. The easy answer is find bulbs that say daylight. It took a bit longer than one sentence for me to get there though. A popular blog that popped up when I asked the google machine suggested warm white light. Except they failed to define warm. Warm light is usually associated with soft yellow lighting, but that is arguably the worst type to apply makeup.

In this instance warm refers to the kelvin temperature. Soft lighting ranges between 2500 and 3000 kelvin, bright lighting between 3500 and 4000 kelvin, and daylight between 5000 and 6500 kelvin. Though, to the eye the soft (yellowish) light looks warmer and the daylight (whitish/blueish) looks cooler. It’s easy to get confused unless the right terminology is used.

Eventually I got it all sorted out and found 60 watt equivalent LED bulbs on Amazon that had a brightness of 800 lumens and color temperature of 5000 kelvin. It was a 16 count box and I paid less than $2 a bulb ($16.47 for the bulbs used in the vanity.)

Once I had all the supplies for the lights I skipped on over to Target to get the mirror, and then a second when I didn’t find it at the first. Unfortunately, when I didn’t find it at the second I went to the internet to investigate and found that the simple inexpensive mirror I wanted was not available for delivery or anywhere in my area for pickup. Eventually, I accepted the fact that I would have to put more into a mirror than I initially intended. In the end I found a 22.5×28.5 inch mirror with a clean white frame for $30. Not the shape I had initially planned for or the price point, but sometimes you just have to roll with it.

Now that I had all the supplies, I pulled apart one of the fixtures and had some problem solving to do. Would the 600v wire from the fixture be compatible with the 300v wire of the plug I was attaching it too? Yes! Would I need a separate housing unit to store the spliced together cords? Nope, they fit just fine inside the original fixture. The fixture was only supposed to be hung horizontally lengthwise, could I safely hang two of them vertically? Sure thing! (I got this.) Would I need to compensate for the cord keeping the fixture less than flush against the wall? A 79 cent investment and hot glue was the plan in the event that it was too unstable, but I made it work without attaching “feet” to the fixture.


About an hour of measuring out and marking up a bedroom wall, and another hour wiring the fixtures and mounting them and I had myself a functional vanity light and space for applying makeup, doing hair, and maintaining the shape of my eyebrows. Though the plugs I attached the fixtures to all had their own switch, I plugged them all into a power strip we had on hand and turn them all on and off with one click at the source instead of needing to do all three every time.

The first time I applied foundation at my new vanity I applied my usual amount and realized quickly it was way too much. I popped into the bathroom to remove the excess and realized how poorly that room was lit for putting a face together, the foundation didn’t look bad at all. For the first few applications I checked everything in the bathroom just to see how different the lighting made it. It was crazy awesome to see how easily one could apply too much color and in all the wrong places.


All together this little project cost just under $120 and it was well spent. A few notes for you and myself. First, the ribbed wire is the same as white/neutral, the smooth wire is the black/live wire. Second, I should have bought the mirror first then I would have picked out a fixture that ran the whole length of the top. Last, I am not a licensed electrician. Any wiring tips you take away from this read you use at your own risk.





Beauty Box 5: Box 1

After the long wait I finally got my first Beauty Box 5 delivery, and it was a bit of a mixed bag. Beauty Box 5 is a monthly beauty box subscription for $12. They send you 5, mostly full-size but some are deluxe sample sizes, indie brand beauty products. The shipping is free in the U.S. ($3 to Canada), and you can expect at least $35 worth of product.


As someone who’s looking to change up your makeup game this is a good way to get your hands on some fresh new products without breaking the bank. Let’s take a closer look:

First thing on my Get it Girl list is Jesse’s Girl: Liquid Eyeliner. I cringed a bit, not exactly having had the best luck with applying liquid liner in the past. I took to google for some application tips and was all ready to get my eyeliner game on when I opened it up to find that it was periwinkle! It absolutely did not coordinate with the other eye makeup that came in my box so I took it all off and applied some eyeshadow I already had so it would work together. No. Nope. Just… uhuh. The color did not work for my skin tone, and it was a pain in the bum to apply. Retail: $6.99

Next up was Prestige Cosmetics: My Biggest Lashes Mascara. I loved the super huge brush, even if it was straight instead of curved. It came out perfectly coated, and went on with ease, but it’s kind of hard to mess up black mascara. Retail: $7.50

The one item in my box that I knew would be of no immediate use was the Did Hair: Jeweled Hair Tie Set. My locks are far too short to attempt such bulky hair ties. With their thick bands and cool colors (don’t forget the jeweled bead attached) they won’t look like a hair band on your wrist, and the description claims they won’t cause creases, but it will be some time before I can put that to the test. Retail: $7.50

Lartzy’s: Lip Pencil may be my favorite of all the items. Anything that can keep my Burt’s Bees lip gloss on for more than thirty minutes (I’m approaching 4 hours) is a winner in my book. It goes on smooth and has a rich pigment. Retail: $18.00

Coastal Scents: Revealed 3 Palette was my only sample size product, but it’s a very generous sample being more eye shadow than I typically wear in a year. The dramatic color range claims to be buildable and can easily transition from day to night. This means a whole lot of nothing to me, but good for them. The color palette is similar to what I already wear but the color goes on bolder, and there’s a bit more sparkle. Retail: $19.50

For being a new subscriber I also got a Marsk: Mineral Eyeshadow. The loose powder came in a silver that has amazing glitter powers, and makes me want to try the whole lot. I’ve currently got it shimmering just below my brows and in the crease of my eye, brightening up the dark Coastal Scents shadow across my lids. Retail: $22.00

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For my first box, even though I didn’t love the hair ties or eyeliner, it was most definitely a win. For my twelve bucks I made out with over $80 in product and 4 out of 6 items I love and will use until they are gone or they’ve met their shelf life. The downside is that even though Beauty Box 5 has a shop not all of the items in my box are available. My free Marsk eyeshadow is there, along with the full Coastal Scents Revealed 3 Palette. Did Hair hair ties can be found but not the same style. Everything else, I’d have to scour the internet for. Such a bummer, especially the lip liner.


Makeup Bag

With my up coming Play by Sephora and Beauty Box 5 subscriptions I thought I’d take a look at what I have, what I use, and how long I’ve had it all. My makeup game is pretty much non-existent, but as most females, and even some bad-ass men do, I’ve got the basics somewhere. The makeup bag is really only pulled out for special occasions (weddings or job interviews) and on the rare occasion just because I feel like it.

I did buy a few new items for my wedding last year and job hunting. I even wore it the first few days of the new job. However, I was so excited the first day boss lady came in make-up free – my fourth or fifth day on the job – the pressure (though negligible, and not from the office) to wear it regularly was off!

Really, I’d be happy with a bit of mascara and a touch of Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer. Most mornings I’m good as is, others I get the works starting with moisturizer and working my way up. I even filled in my eyebrows last week – it was the wrong shade for me, but I went with it.

Knowing that most of the items in my makeup bag I couldn’t even remember when I bought I took to the internet to research how long each item could be kept. Turns out, I should throw about 90% of it away and start new. Good thing I’ve got a couple of subscription boxes to introduce me to new products.


Taking a peek at my assortment I am definitely loyal to a few brands. With the exception of Mary Kay’s Satin Lips Burt’s Bees is the only thing that currently graces this pucker. It’s a rare day that I go without Aveeno’s Positively Radiant moisturizer. I’m not a fan of the tinted stuff, if it needs a moisturizer base before you apply is defeating the purpose, right? If I’m in the store I default to Cover Girl for all my eye makeup and blush needs. The Mary Kay is from a pre-wedding make-over, but I tend to only purchase it when it is right in front of me.

The Carbonated Bubble Clay Mask showed up on my Facebook timeline one day and was so absolutely fascinating I had to try it. It’s fun applying and feeling it fizz on your face is very satisfying, but I make such a mess trying to rinse it off. I’ll stick with my Neutrogena Wave for my face cleaning needs. I’ll be so sad when I can no longer find refills for this.

According to this article, I can hold onto the Curve Crush perfume for another year, my Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer (but not the gloss) and one of my eye liners for a couple of months yet. My moisturizer and clay mask both have expiration dates for 2018 or later, so at least I have that going for me. Hopefully the makeup subscriptions will fill the soon to be vacated spots.

Show of hands: How many of you regularly use the entirety of your makeup before it reaches its suggested shelf life?