how to: remove red lipstick stains from clothing

tumblr_lzuuf2GRrJ1rq17yxo1_500As someone who considers herself having pretty good luck, I sometimes find myself completely and dramatically devastated when that aforementioned luck runs out. Take last month for example, when I loaded my washing machine plumb-full of vintage dresses, beloved cream tights and my go-everywhere denim jacket, which, unbeknownst to me, had a tube of bright red lipstick tucked in the right pocket. It wasn’t until I pulled the load out of the hot dryer (!) that I noticed everything was pink and streaked, spotted and mottled with oily red splotches. Quelle horreur, n’est-ce pas? (French for holy fucking shit*.) The mere sight of my beloved pieces of vintage in a ruined state sent me into a tizzy, an emotion reinforced by article after article proclaiming red lipstick one of the most devilish stains to get out. (Something about the combination of heavy pigments and grease…)

Ever the optimist, I went to work immediately, experimenting with different methods recommended online. First I tried Spray ‘n’ Wash. Then I massaged Dawn dish soap on dress after dress. When that didn’t work, I sprayed the spots with hair spray, dabbing them desperately in between bouts with a towel. I washed everything again (and then again). But those stains? They didn’t budge. Not even a smidge. And so I gave up.

For an entire week, I mulled over my dumbness, considered ordering new cream tights and felt all-around silly to be so sad over wrecked dresses. I’d have to throw everything out, I thought. Refusing to let go of my pretties without one last attempt, I turned to my old stand-by, Oxiclean. I filled up my bath tub a third of the way with cold water, swirled in two big scoops of the magical powder and added my clothes. I pushed everything ’round for a bit, making sure it was all submerged and, with a hope and a prayer, let it stew for an entire afternoon.

By the time I checked in on things, the water was a murky reddish-brown and as I pulled the clothes out of the water, I couldn’t spot any streaks. I immediately, and, if I’m honest, gleefully, ran the soaked clothes through the wash and at the end of the cycle, found nary a trace of pink or single red splotch. My abiding love of Oxiclean was reinforced, and my feelings out luckl-essness vanished without a trace. Lessons learned? One: Check (then double-check) your pockets before loading the laundry. Two: When facing serious stains, always try Oxiclean first.

xoxo,

Meghan

P.S. Some other how-tos I’ve written you might find useful!

How to: Get Out Stains
How to: Remove Grease Pencil Markings
How to: Clean Vintage Luggage

Photo c/o: Dress for Victory

quick & easy DIYs to do over holiday break

Hey all, and happy hump day!

Here’s a fun challenge I’ve been working on this week: Figuring out what DIYs I can tackle during my upcoming week off of work. I’m super overdue for a few little home improvements (leaky bathroom faucet your days are numbered!) and some crafting. As per usual have lots of ideas earmarked, including these five.

holidaydiys3

1. happy cushion how-to c/o Tabitha Emma 2. fancy fringe keychain as seen in a hip handmade holiday 3. jane snead vintage cross stitch kit 4. chunky knit infinity scarf 5. closet spruce-up inspired by this post on oh joy!

Do you have any DIYs on your post-holiday to-do list? If so, lemme hear about ’em!

xo,

Meghan

holiday how-to: quick-fix praline bars

Here’s a typical story from my life: Earlier this month I celebrated my 30th birthday party with a cookie swap at my favorite bar. The party was starting in half-an-hour, and, of course, I hadn’t had time to bake a single cookie. I knew it would be OK for me to skip the swap, but I still wanted to contribute a little something sweet. Into my brain, like a saving grace, popped this recipe…a holiday favorite of my Grandma Mary. The simple ingredients and unfussy proportions make it an easy one to recall by heart, and before I knew it, I was on my way out the door, tin of cookies in hand, with a minute or two to spare.

Before I share her recipe, please know one thing: No one’s going to “ooh” and “ahh” over how these bars look. They’re not showy, they’re simple. But whatever they lack in looks, they make up for (ten-fold) in taste. I figured I’d share the recipe with you this week, in case you too find yourself in a pinch and need to whip up something for a holiday party or potluck at the last minute.

grahambars

Grandma Mary’s Praline Bars

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

24 graham crackers (roughly two packs from an average-size box)
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. butter
1/2 t. vanilla
1 c. chopped pecans (or walnuts)

HOW TO MAKE

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Arrange graham crackers on a foil-lined jelly roll pan.

3. Heat brown sugar and butter to boiling in a saucepan. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly; remove from heat and quickly stir in the vanilla.

3. Working fast, spread the caramelized sugar on top of the crackers, as evenly as possible.

4. Sprinkle with chopped pecans.

5. Bake for 10 or so minutes, or until the caramel starts to bubble. Watch ’em carefully because they can scorch from just a minute or two of over-baking.

6. Let them cool and then break into squares or pieces.

This recipe doubles like a dream, which you might as well do because they take literally 15 minutes start-to-finish and you will want to gobble them all up as soon as they are cool.

xoxo,

Meghan

how to: thrift for records

This past July, my forever-long wish to own a stereo was granted. And ever since, I’ve been obsessed with hunting for records. Like anything else, looking for records at thrift stores, garage and estate sales can be a crap shoot. And an overwhelming one at that! Here are some super basic things I keep in mind when I’m out and about.

Before you you get your heart set on a specific record, check the condition of it first. See deep scratches, scuff marks, chips, cracks or gouges? Skip it. And be sure to inspect both sides too!

Make sure the record isn’t warped. (Warped records = distorted sound.) The easiest way to check is to hold the record up at eye level.

This is a total no-brainer, but while you have the record out, make sure that it matches the jacket. How sad would it be to go home thinking you’d found a rare Kitty Wells record, only to discover some crappy Billy Joel album inside.

Keep a running list of what you’re looking for. I have a friend who keeps her record wish list on Pinterest, I personally keep a running list in my notes on my phone. Either way, just like thrifting for clothes, I find it helpful to keep tabs of what I’m hunting for.

Take a chance! If you come across an intriguing cover, artist or song, and the record’s in good shape, where’s the harm in taking it home for a listen? I picked “Mustang Jazz,” a recording of the Southern Methodist University Marching Band out of a $1 bin at a record fair last month and it pumps me up every time I listen to it!

And last but not least, it’s OK to thrift records just because you like the cover art! Inspired by this Easy Record Cover Art DIY I spotted over the summer, I painted over a pin-up-y instrumental album cover. It sits on my vanity now and I love looking at it when I get ready each morning.

Some other good resources for learning more about thrifting records:
Thrift Store Vinyl: “Listening to used records so you don’t have to.”
The Thrift Store Record Collector: “Collecting records the cheap way.”
How to Clean Old Records

Do you have any tips for thrifting records you want to share? If so, let us hear ’em down below in comments!

xoxo,

Meghan

revolutionary recipe alert: microwave apple crisp

I’ve been missing my oven a lot lately. It probably has to do with the fact it snowed today, meaning my least favorite season, pre-winter, has arrived. I’m trying to be positive about the cold weather, but it’s hard. Especially when you can’t even cope with it with a cozy night spent at home baking. One thing I’ve been dying to make all fall is a good old-fashioned apple crisp. Which is why this recipe for microwave apple crisp caught my eye when I stumbled on it at work the other day. I was skeptical at first, but after reading the positive reviews, my mind was made up to give it a try.

I stuck with the recipe pretty closely, but did substitute one of the apples out for a sad little pear that was languishing in my fridge. My 1.5-quart
oblong Pyrex turned out to be the perfect size.

After mixing up the topping (a straight-forward combo of oats, brown sugar, Bisquick, melted butter and spices) I thought it was going to be too thick, but it turned out to be just right.

This is when I started to have my doubts…

Skeptical as I was, it only took one bite to make me a believer. It was everything I had missed about baked apple crisp—sweet, warm, sticky, cinnamon-y, apple-y, good. I was so happy, I almost forgot about the sad state of my broken oven.

You can find the recipe (and read all the rave reviews) here. Let me know what you think if you give it a whirl!

xoxo,

Meghan

beauty school sunday

Quick background: I’ve spend many an indulgent Sunday morning propped in bed, surfing You Tube and Pinterest for cute beauty tutorials to try in the upcoming week. Along the way, I’ve found some helpful gems which I’ll be sharing here with you on the odd Sunday. 

Late this summer, the French twist was top on my list of hairstyles to master. It’s a polished style that’s works well with second-day hair, making it an ideal ‘do for weekday mornings when I need to look nice for work, but don’t have time to shower and blow-dry. It took me a little while to get the hang of it, but bits and pieces from each of these tutorials were helpful so I figured I’d share ’em all.

I found this how-to via Capital Hill Style, a good blog to follow if you work in a formal-ish professional environment. This gal’s non-traditional twisting method wouldn’t work with my thick hair, but if you have shorter or thinner locks than I, it could be a winner.

I loved the messy, fuzzy end result of this Beauty Department tutorial, but found the chopsticks element totally unnecessary. The tip I did steal from this how-to was no. 5: teasing the middle ends of your hair before you roll it up makes for a meatier, bulkier twist.

And last but not least, the tutorial that made it all click! I’ve shared this link with a few friends who were wondering how I fixed my hair…I think what makes it super easy to get is the clear shots of the back of the model’s head.

Some other Frenchy tips I’ve picked up along the way…

Using the correct pins will make doing this ‘do so much easier. Make sure to track down big (three-four inch) bobby pins (for running vertically up the back of your hair) and open hair pins for securing the roll.

It’s better to tease too much than too little when you get started. You can always comb out extra volume, but adding it after you’ve started smoothing and pinning is a pain in the rear.

A handheld mirror will be your best bud when you’re learning this style. Use it to make sure the back’s not looking too ratty or bumpy and that your twist is centered and even.

Don’t sweat it if it takes you a few tries to get the twist down. Give yourself plenty of time to mess around while you’re learning, i.e. don’t try it out for the first time if you’re on a tight schedule or worse, running late.

If you do this right, you shouldn’t need to use a ton of pins or hairspray. I usually do a quick spritz of Extra-Strong Elnett and get on my way.

Do you have any tried-and-true tricks for French twisting to share? If so, leave a comment and let me know! I hope you all have had fabulous Sundays so far. I went to a dear friend’s baby shower this afternoon and now I’m off to hop on a bus to see this dreamboat.

Heck. Yes.

xo,

Meghan

P.S. The beautiful Bruce photo’s from here.

guest post: summery quinoa salad recipe

Hey dearies, happy Monday!

To kick off the week, I’m turning the blog over to the lovely Jen Cortez, co-owner of The Hive Salon and blogger behind Midwest Vaygun. I asked Jen to share one of her favorite healthy dishes with us this week and the menu she came up with sounds downright divine, especially considering my recent barbecue bender in Kansas City. I’ve really been scaling back on the amount of meat I eat since my trip, and this protein-packed quinoa salad would be the perfect for toting to work for lunch. I hope you enjoy!!

xo, Meghan

Summer is closing in on us fast, and with the soaring temps comes one of my most favorite things—outdoor eating! The only problem is that picnics and barbecues are often filled with repetitious staples. I believe you can only have so much potato salad, right? I love Asian cuisine, but far too often my love of far-eastern goodness takes a back seat in the summer (except for those nights where take-out is the only retreat from a hot stove, or hotter backyard) for more seasonal fare. I decided to put an end to the monotony of usual summer stamples by “summer-izing” some of my favorite Asian flavors. These are perfect for bringing to any outdoor get together!

Cold Quinoa “Fried Rice” Salad with Tofu

Quinoa doesn’t harden when cold like most rice varieties, making it great for chilled salads. although mangoes and avocados aren’t traditional in fried rice, their textures and flavors compliment the spicy and salty flavors of the quinoa and add extra heft to the dish.

What You Need

1 1/2 c. quinoa, rinsed well
2 1/2 c. water
1 20-ounce block Wildwood Tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 large mango
2 avocados
1 bundle scallions
2-3 t. Sriracha hot sauce
3 T. gluten-free soy sauce
1 1/2 t. palm sugar, or regular sugar
2 t. fresh ginger, grated
1 T. coconut oil
1/2 c. loosely packed Thai basil and cillantro
bean sprouts, peanuts, and limes for garnish

Begin by bringing the water to boil in a tall pot. Add a few pinches of salt and the quinoa. Reduce to a simmer, and cook until all of the water has been absorbed, this should take roughly 15 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes and fluff with a fork. Spread the quinoa out on a cookie sheet and pop into the fridge to chill,  or the freezer if needed ASAP.

Next, take the tofu and place in on a lightly oiled cookie sheet and pop it into your toaster oven *if you don’t have a toaster oven you can use the regular oven but you’ll really heat your house up. otherwise, you can pan fry the tofu if you don’t mind the extra oil. Crank your toaster oven onto it’s highest setting and bake the bejeezus out of it, or until golden brown and lightly crispy. Place the tofu with the quinoa to cool it down.

Halve and pit the avocados and the mango and cube before tossing into a large, portable bowl that has a lid. Thinly slice the basil, cilantro, and scallions and add them to the bowl as well.

Now you can go ahead and whisk together the soy, ginger, sriracha, sugar and coconut oil (melt first if needed).

Toss the chilled quinoa and tofu with the rest of your prepped ingredients, and fold in the dressing. Taste and adjust to your preference. Sprinkle with with crushed peanuts, bean sprouts, and lime wedges. Serve with spicy grilled pak choy.

Spicy Korean Grilled Pak Choy

Feel free to swap out the pak choy for larger bok choy  or another bitter green, like broccolini.

What You Need

1 lb. pak choy/baby bok choy
4 T. gluten free soy sauce
2 t. tamarind paste
1 T. sesame oil
3 T. rice wine vinegar
2+ T. garlic chili sauce

Rinse the pak choy and cut in half length wise. Whisk together remaining marinade components, taste for heat, and pour over the pak choy. Marinate up to a full day. Grill vegetables until tender, basting occasionally with leftover marinade. It was raining when I last made this so I used my cast iron grill pan, but I think it tastes best when it’s made outdoors.

Get more of delicious vegan recipes like this over on the Midwest Vaygun!