Halloween In Your Closet: Mer-Maid

For some reason, I have found blogging to be an uphill battle this year. I am not sure why because I still enjoy blogging and the community I have found through it. However, blogging is no longer the priority it once was. I need to step back a bit from my virtual life so that I can pay attention to my actual one. So, my posting may be irregular with one post one week and several the next. I have, also, fallen behind on commenting, and this frustrates me the most because I enjoy reading your blogs. I shall do my best to catch up. Things may be a little quiet around here while I try to find a more comfortable schedule.

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming…

Halloween is Friday, and if you haven’t decided on a costume, it’s time to get started. When it comes to last minute costuming, there is no better place to start than your closet.

Mer-Maid Costume

easy halloween costume

I love a play on words. I admit I find them punny, and my corny wit soon led me to attempt to combine two classic Halloween costumes – the maid and the mermaid. The costume is simple enough. A simple black dress and a white apron are enough to channel the maid. This dress I got from Target a few years ago, and the apron is just a piece of white fabric I folded over and belted around my waist. To keep with the fishy theme, I layered black fishnet tights over seafoam green tights.

Mer-Maid Makeup

Halloween mermaid

What really makes this costume is the makeup. I was inspired by this fish makeup post. I used nylon hexagon netting to create the scales by placing a scrap of netting on my face, covering the swatch with a creamy concealer, and brushing on bright eyeshadow. When you lift the netting off, you are left with a scale-like pattern. The makeup was more vibrant in person, and I had to resort to awkward closeups in order for the scales to show up on camera.

Halloween costume ideas

Do you have any plans for Halloween?

Lost in Translation

book about untranslatable words

There is something magical about finding a word that can express exactly what you are thinking with only a handful of letters. Ella Frances Sanders’ Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from Around the World is just the sort of book every logophile needs. From boketto to ya’aburnee, Sanders’ whimsical illustrations bring to life over 50 untranslatable words from around the world.

I mentioned this book in my September Favorites video, and with the holiday season fast approaching, I highly recommend getting this book for any word lover in your life. It’s a lovely, little book to flip through and is full of fascinating words that make you wonder why there is no English equivalent. For instance, in Malay, there is a word for the time needed to eat a banana, and in Tulu, there is a word for the mark left on your skin when you wear something tight. If there were two things I could change about this book, I would want to add a pronunciation guide as well as have the words in alphabetical order; however, the book is still delightful just the way it is.

One of my favorite words from the book is the Dutch adjective gezellig, which “describes more than just coziness – a positive warm emotion or feeling rather than just something physical – and connotes time spent with loved ones, togetherness.” Isn’t that beautiful? If words were clothes, this one would be a snugly sweater.

This book was provided by Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review.

Moisturize Me: Three Must Have Products Under $10

A string of sick days has the disturbing ability to bring out my inner Lady Cassandra. In fact, “Moisturize me, moisturize me!” may have been my mantra over the last few days.  While drinking plenty of water is important, sometimes your skin needs a little extra help. Here are three products that I’ve found are essential for maintaining happy skin through colds and cold weather.

Face Cream

face moisturizer

While everyone has their favorite moisturizer, Pond’s Dry Skin Cream is my current pick. It’s affordable and easy to find and it’s kept my skin in good shape while I coughed and sniffled through last week.

Lip Balm

lip balm

I’m a big fan of Burt’s Bees products, especially their lip balms. This Ultra Conditioning Lip Balm is 100% natural and promises 4-hour moisturization. No chapped lips here.

Facial Spray

facial spray

For an extra dose of moisture, I like to spritz my face with the Facial Spray With Aloe, Herb and Rosewater from Mario Badescu. Normally, I use this before I go to sleep, but this facial spray is, also, a nice mid-day pick me up.

What are your moisturizing essentials?

October Wish List

Thank you all for supporting my play! The reading was a success, and now, all that’s left to do is get the script ready to submit to festivals. The last few weeks have been busy, and I’ve fallen quite behind on blogging, but I hope to be back on schedule next week. I’m calling this week a wash since I am paying the price for a week of sleepless nights and am fighting a rather nasty allergy/cold. All I want to do is stay curled up in bed rereading Sense and Sensibility. However, I did find the energy to do a little online shopping so I could put together this month’s wish list.

fall shopping guide

Currently, I have no reason to buy a new little black dress, but I like to think the need will arise in the near future. This BCBGMAXAZRIA dress looks like the perfect background for some playful accessories. I have an abundance of black shoes, so I think Manolo Blahnik’s ruby slipper-esque pumps would be a nice addition to my shoe collection. Charlotte Olympia’s Take Me Away Box Clutch Bag is adorable and could be a great conversation starter. To complete the look, add this simple, diamond necklace from Jennifer Zeuner Jewelry, and top it all off with this cape blazer from Factory.

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Also, if you haven’t heard, Shopbop is having their friends and family sale and is offering 25% off most items with code FAMILY25. So tempting but the sale ends October 16th.

What’s on your wish list?

Theatre Studies 201: Destined for Doon

The last week has been beautifully complicated. I’ve written a short play, and every spare moment has been poured into re-writing it. This Saturday, the play is going to be read at the library. I am so excited. However, I have fallen behind in my online life, so I will try to squash as much as I can into this post.

Last week, I recorded my September favorites video and focused on my favorite books and beauty products from last month.

Two books I really enjoyed reading last month are from Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon’s Doon series, a re-imagining of Brigadoon.  They were sent to me as part of BookSparks Fall Reading Challenge, which is back-to-school themed with every book assigned a course subject. So clever. In case you are wondering, you have just stumbled across Theatre Studies 201.

Doon novel

Doon, the first book in the series, follows Veronica and her best friend Mackenna, who visit Scotland for the summer. While Mackenna cherishes dreams of being a famous actress, Veronica has never had a reason to dream big. Abandoned by her father and barely tolerated by her mother, Veronica hopes that Scotland will lead her to her destiny and the mysterious boy who keeps appearing to her. When Mackenna and Veronica mysteriously find themselves in Doon, Veronica hopes that answers won’t be far behind. However, the two girls are accused of being witches sent to destroy Doon and must win the trust of the two princes while trying to save Doon from an unknown evil.

I love a good YA romance, and Doon hits just the right spot. Just when things start to get cheesy, the characters poke fun at themselves and the situations that entangle them. I was quickly pulled into the story and the magical world of Doon, and I may have lost sleep as I raced through the last part of the book. The ending left me wanting more, so I was very glad that book two was already sitting on my bookshelf.

Destined for Doon

*Spoiler Alert*

Mackenna leaves Doon at the end of book one, and oh, yeah, Veronica is now queen. Mackenna is living in Chicago while pursuing her dream of the stage when Duncan, the prince she left behind, shows up and asks her to return to Doon to help Veronica. Evil is taking over Doon, and Mackenna is the only one who can see the zombie fungus consuming the enchanted country.

Continuing the themes of hope and friendship from book one, Destined for Doon examines what happens when fairy tale life doesn’t go as expected. Veronica struggles with the responsibilities of being queen and the discord caused by people who still believe she is evil. There’s, also, that tiny issue of her boyfriend being the one she replaced on the throne. Mackenna believes she has lost Duncan’s love forever and fears that means she has no future in Doon. Destined for Doon is a story of second chances and the importance of not allowing fear and self-doubt to hold you back from what you really want.

I absolutely love this series. The books are entertaining and empowering, and I need book three in my hands ASAP.

You can follow Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon on Twitter and can learn more about the series on their website.


These books were sent to me for review and are part of BookSparks Fall Reading Challenge.

Links à la Mode: The IFB Weekly Roundup


The Politics of Fashion By: Jennine Jacob

Emma Watson made waves last week when she launched the #heforshe campaign. Chanel channeled a feminist protest for their runway show this season. Chantelle Brown-Young broke through a barrier redefining beauty. No matter what you believe, the fact is we can not ignore that ideas are changing, and we’re ready.

Links à la Mode: October 2nd

SPONSOR: East Dane Natori, Phat Buddha, Saylor, Miista, MCM, Cushnie Ochs, BWGH, Stella McCartney, Kimem, Ash Shoes & Evening Dresses

Want to be featured in Links à la Mode?

1. Read the clarified rules and submit your links on this page: Links à la Mode.
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Floral Friday: Garden Flowers

winter garden

Her pleasure in the walk must arise from the exercise and the day, from the view of the last smiles of the year upon the tawny leaves and withered hedges, and from repeating to herself some few of the thousand poetical descriptions extant of autumn–that season of peculiar and inexhaustible influence on the mind of taste and tenderness–that season which has drawn from every poet worthy of being read some attempt at description, or some lines of feeling.  - Jane Austen

Today has been a very rainy day. It’s been the kind of day full of busy nothings and petty annoyances. Surprisingly, there are still flowers blooming in the garden. The frost (dare I say snow) is due tomorrow, and then all bets are off. The thought that it may be a good six months before I see flowers in the garden again is a wee bit depressing, but fall has its own rewards. The leaves are brilliant shades of red and yellow, and the world seems to be filled with pumpkins and apples. Even the rain isn’t so bad.

This twinkly nail polish from Deborah Lippmann looks like just the right color for today.

stairway to heaven

Deborah Lippmann Lacquer in Stairway to Heaven

Floral Fridays is a monthly photography project with different themes each month. This series is about fun and taking time out to smell the flowers. To play along, please email Trishie (trishie@underlockandkeyblog.com) for next month’s theme.

Why Don’t You…?

lists, fun things october

Jump into a pile of leaves?

Mail a letter on World Post Day?

Turn off the TV and make a batch of Brown Butter Pecan Brownies?

Have a Harry Potter movie marathon?

Turn a pumpkin into a piece of art?

Participate in #lovetober?

Give yourself a fall worthy manicure?

Stock up on pumpkin flavored lip balm?

Read a book that reminds you of fall?

Share a cup of tea with a friend?

Happy. Pretty. Sweet.

The end of September already? Fall is everywhere I look. The leaves are changing. Pumpkins are popping up allover the place. There is even the occasional nip in the air. Here are some things that made my month happy, pretty, and sweet:

Visiting my little brother in Georgia. Celebrating my grandmother’s 80th birthday. Pretending to be Monet and taking a one night painting class. Cha cha lessons. Going to a talk given by Cokie Roberts. Eating cookies from the farmers’ market. Pumpkin ice cream with caramel, cookies, and whipped cream. Book sale at the library and buying as many books as I can fit into my bag. Doing a virtual 5k with my mom and receiving actual prizes. Dressing a fashion show at an old theatre. Letters from pen pals…

things i love thursday, gratitude list

Follow me on Instagram to see more of my adventures!

A Brief History of Charm Bracelets

A Brief History of Charm Bracelets

There is something about the tinkle of charms around your wrist and the secret story each charm holds. While charm bracelets first made their appearance in ancient Egypt, they continue to grace the wrists of fashionable ladies. What started as a talisman to ward off evil has turned into a beautiful way to remember important moments in your life.

One lover of charm bracelets was Queen Victoria, who even presented charms to her family and friends on New Year’s. Prince Albert loved showering Queen Victoria with jewelry and to celebrate the birth of their first child, he gave the queen this simple charm bracelet and added an enamel locket whenever another child was born. However, this locket charm bracelet was one of the queen’s favorites.

One of the most famous charm bracelets is the Cartier cross bracelet that King Edward VIII gave to Wallis Simpson, the eventual Duchess of Windsor. The stunning bracelet features a diamond encrusted chain with nine gemstone crosses. Each of the Latin crosses is engraved with a date and a note to mark the occasion, including one cross to mark the Duchess’ appendectomy.

Another fan of charm bracelets was Elizabeth Taylor, whose jewelry collection rivaled many royal collections. If you are obsessed with jewelry, I highly recommend Elizabeth Taylor: My Love Affair with Jewelry. It is spectacular. Elizabeth was quite fond of charm bracelets (Christie’s auctioned off five from her collection). This one, with its eclectic collection of charms, is a wrist-sized personal history.

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