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Beauty Review: Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask

Origins Clear Improvement™ Active Charcoal Mask To Clear Pores

What it is: a facial mask infused with charcoal and white china clay that is designed to draw out impurities in your pores

Product information: available on Origins’ website

Available at: Sephora, Macys, Origins

Retail price: $25 (3.4 oz)

Review:

My ridiculously porous skin has long been not only one of my biggest insecurities, but one of my biggest investments as well.

My pores are large, easily clogged, and most of the time my nose looks like a strawberry thanks to the surplus of blackheads that have bred like jackrabbits there. I’ve tried a lot of products and I’ve spent a lot of money in an effort to keep my pores emptier than a Nickelback concert, but I’m still always searching for the absolute best solution for my personal skin hell.

Enter Origins’ Clear Improvement Charcoal Mask.

This mask is formulated with bamboo charcoal, white china clay, and lecithin – ingredients which Origin claims are able to clear out clogged pores, absorb toxins, and dissolve all impurities. The Clear Improvement Charcoal Mask is a rinse off mask (rather than a peel), and it’s designed to be used in a short time span (compared to masks which are designed for overnight use).

I have been trying this mask on for size for roughly two months now, using it once or twice a week immediately following my normal cleansing routine (and facial steaming).

I would lather on a decent amount of product to ensure that the mask was evenly distributed on my skin, and then the wait would begin. The initial sensation the mask brought upon my face was a very mild stinging (which usually occurred when my cleansing method was my Clarisonic brush), but that feeling would subside quickly and turn into a cool sensation that was definitely relaxing.

My skin would feel noticeably tighter as the mask would dry and harden, making it absolutely impossible to even move my face or break a smile without cracking the mask (this ultimately became a cruel game for my jerk boyfriend and sister, who purposely wanted me to lose face).

Even though this product does revert back to a more liquid form when exposed to water, it still takes some time and serious rubbing to rinse it off completely. It also leaves one hell of a mess, as the rinsed off product would stick to my sink basin rather than sliding down the drain, leaving slippery, nasty grey residue everywhere.

So, on to the big question here: does Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask deliver on its promise of clear, clean skin?

Well… yes and no.

I did experience some small breakouts after using the mask the first few times (which is natural and normal, as the mask purged out the underlying impurities), but after a few more uses this stopped. I also noticed that my non-hormone related breakouts seemed to decrease considerably, which made me and my acne prone skin extremely happy.

But as far as blackhead control goes, I wasn’t impressed.

Some of the blackheads on my skin were eliminated after using the mask, but I saw little to no change regarding the more stubborn blackheads that plague my nose, which is the area I had the highest hopes for. I have tried using the mask on my nose alone several times, but to no avail.

Yet even though this product did little to clear out those pesky blackheads from my nose, I still find Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask to be a valuable asset to my beauty arsenal. This mask definitely helps to keep my acne and oil in check, and that alone is worth the $25 asking price.

Final thoughts (or TL;DR):

Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask is suitable for all skin types, so if you’re plagued with clogged pores, excessive oil, or acne (which are all related, by the way), then this mask is definitely worth a try. However, those of you with stubborn blackheads may not see the results you were looking for, as this mask simply doesn’t have the pulling power needed to extract blackheads that are deeply embedded.

Pro Tips:

  1. Before putting on this mask (or doing anything relating to your pores for that matter) it is extremely important that your pores be open. Origins suggests placing a warm, damp towel over your face for a few minutes prior to using this mask to open them suckers up, but you’re really going to get the best results by applying the mask after a hot shower or after using a facial steamer machine.
  2. Keep some all purpose cleaner handy, as you’ll probably have to clean up the mess that this mask leaves in its wake.

What products do you use to keep your skin clear and gorgeous? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to check out our other beauty reviews!

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Looking for an Inexpensive Makeup Primer? Try Aftershave!

If you’re anything like me, then your wallet may be hurting a bit more than usual this first week of the new year thanks to all that holiday gift giving. I’ve made a resolution to cut back on my spending (as with all new years come and gone), but the only problem is that I spend a majority of my money on make up and beauty products. So when I saw a few YouTube beauty gurus using an “amazing” primer available for under $10, I was definitely intrigued.

The only problem? The primer was really Nivea Post Shave Balm – A men’s aftershave.

…Really? Really. And oh my goodness,  it’s incredible.

After a long couple weeks of holiday partying, my makeup was just not cooperating. That is, until I started using the Post Shave Balm. Now my makeup has never gone on so smoothly or stayed on so long. Plus, my pores appear smaller, my typically oily skin has had much less shine, and best of all, my makeup looked flawless after wearing it for 10 hours. TEN HOURS!

The main reason for this amazing-ness? Glycerin.

This magical compound is one of the main ingredients in Nivea’s aftershave, and it bonds your makeup on like no other, and with chamomile and Vitamin E blended in, it also soothes your skin.

There’s no heaviness or cakeyness – just flawless, perfect skin.  I’ve tried the product with both high end foundation and drug store foundation, and both work well with it.

Now, I must warn you, there is a typical “man” smell to it (as you’d expect), but it will go away before you even finish your makeup.

So, if you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to high end primers, give this a shot. For around $6, it’s definitely my new favorite product of 2016.

Have any other cheap alternitives to traditional (and expensive!) makeup primer? Let us know in the comments!

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Nerdy Bound: The Fashion Awakens

If you haven’t seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens yet, then shame on you! But for those of you who have, then what better way to celebrate this box office smash than by expressing your love of your favorite new character through fashion. I don’t believe there are any spoilers here, but just in case I’m going to err on the side of caution and say that if you really haven’t seen it, SPOILERS.

Rey

rey

Shop the look: Maurices Ultra Soft Spacedye Sweatshirt $29 Forever 21 Women’s Crochet-paneled vest $20 Karen Scott Twill Cropped Capri $27 Plus-size Option:Gloria Vanderbilt Plus Anastasia Capri $32 Material Girl Rhodes Lace-up Platform Boots $48 Buckled Flap Canvas Messenger Bag $36 Strasse Vegan Leather Corset Belt $48 Women’s Stainless Steel Blue Titanium Lightsaber Necklace $35 Matching Lightsaber Earrings $55

Finn

finn

Shop the look: Black Racer Back Sleeveless Round Neck Tank $10 Plus-size Option: Democracy Women’s Plus-Size Netting Insert Neck Hanky Hem Tank $17  Ritze Tan Leather Jacket $10 Plus-size Option: Ambiance Apparel Faux Leather Bomber Jacket $39 Miss Selfridge Silky Midi Skirt $18 Plus-size Option:Black Womens Sexy Plus Size Patchwork Pencil Skirt $11 Chanel Ankle Boots $25 Kattee Classic Military Shoulder Bag $44 R2-D2 C-3PO best friends necklace $8.99

Kylo Ren

kylo

Shop the look: ExOfficio Techpressa Pullover Hooded Shirt $36 Plus-size Option:TL Women’s Basic Solid Warm Knitted Casual Zip-Up $11 Choies Black Split Maxi Skirt $17 Plus-size  Option: Canari Black Zip-Side Maxi Skirt $22 AllhqFashion Lace-up Peep Toe Platform Wedge Heels $33 Beaded Cascade Necklace $38 Star Wars 3D Darth Vader Earrings $21 Gothic Rockabilly Steampunk Black Triple Buckle Wide Elastic Belt $15

Poe Dameron

poe

Shop the look: Topshop Faux Wrap Body-Con Dress $40 Plus-size Option: Liz Claiborne New York 3/4 Sleeve Striped Knit Dress $29 Gallery Vest $39 Plus-size Option:Avenue Plus Size Reversible Wavy Quilted Vest $20 Qupid Khaki Wicker Boot $35 X-Wing Silver Stud Earring $13 ASOS Loop Detail Waist Belt $11 Han Cholo The BB-8 Pendant in Silver $55

What look was your favorite? Let us know in the comments!

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10 Last Minute Gift Ideas for the Geek in Your Life

If you’ve procrastinated doing your holiday shopping for the geek in your life until now, then I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news for you: your options are pretty slim.

You no longer have the luxury of purchasing presents online if you want them to come in before Christmas, so you’re now forced to face the crowds and lines in the world of retail, where nearly everything by now has been picked over to death.

So, to make your last minute holiday shopping a little less stressful, I’ve spitballed 10 ideas for some geeky gifts that may just be perfect for your loved one! And, to make shopping even easier for you, all of these gifts can be found in nationwide retail stores! Just don’t blame me if they’re out of stock – you’re the one who waited until the last minute!

 

Attack on Titan Zip Up Hoodie

Available at: Hot Topic
Price: $50-56

Help the Attack on Titan fan in your life stay nice and warm this winter with a Scout Regiment hoodie! Hot Topic has quite a few different variations of the hoodie seen to your left, some with winged sleeves, some without. These hoodies may be a little pricey, but they are made of decent material and will stand not only the test of time, but the dreaded washing machine.

The former goth chain also has a variety of other Attack on Titan swag, including wallets, tanks, keychains, and full cosplay outfits.

 

Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 10.41.23 PMAdult Coloring Books

Available at: Barnes and Noble, Target, Michaels
Price: $4-$15

Adult coloring books are a hot trend lately, and honestly, who doesn’t love to color?! Couple a coloring book with a tall beer or glass of wine, and you’ve got yourself the perfect night in.

I have found that Barnes and Noble has the geekiest selection of coloring books aimed at the kid-at-heart (such as the Sherlock one I have featured here), but Target and Michaels also have a decent array, albeit not as geeky.

Bonus points: get them some amazing colored pencils to go along with it! Or wine. Wine is always good.

Star Wars R2-D2 8-pc. Measuring Cup Set

Available at: Kohls
Price: $14.99 (originally $29.99)

Why not bring a little fun into the kitchen with this absolutely adorable R2-D2 measuring cup set?

It includes a 1/4-cup measuring cup, 1/3-cup measuring cup, 1/2-cup measuring cup, 1-cup measuring cup, 1/4-teaspoon, 1/2-teaspoon, 1-teaspoon and a 1/3-teaspoon

You can rearrange the pieces when the set is not in use and store R2 on your counter, making this set truly a functional piece of fandom.

Funko Pop! Figures

Available at: Hot Topic, Target, Walmart, Barnes and Noble, Game Stop, Best Buy, etc.
Price: $8.99-$25

Funko Pop! figures are cute, geeky, and they’re kind of everywhere.

Even if the geek on your list isn’t a Pop! collector, these figurines are sure to find a special place in your loved one’s home or office. Almost every major fandom has been recreated into chibi form by Funko, and the figurines range from mini to large, the standard size measuring at a height of 3.75 inches.

Honestly, as far as last minute geeky gifts go, this is the easiest one to pick up.

That Video Game They’ve Been Raving About

Available at: Game Stop, Best Buy, Target, Walmart, Sears etc.
Price: $59.99 (average price for new)

I feel like this is the really obvious choice to make around Christmas, but it’s still an effective one if the geek on your list is a gamer. Plus, retailers have a HUGE supply of games this time of year, so you’re pretty much guaranteed to find the latest and greatest ones in stock while you’re out doing your last minute shopping.

If video games aren’t your forte and you need a suggestion about what to get them, the following new releases are your best bet:

  • Star Wars: Battlefront (PS4/Xbox One/PC)
  • Fallout 4 (PS4/Xbox One/PC)
  • Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege (PS4/Xbox One/PC)
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops III (PS4/Ps3/Xbox One/Xbox 360/PC)

Just make sure they don’t already have the game, of course.

Hayao Miyazaki Swag

Available at: Hot Topic
Price: $4 and up

Hot Topic has an excellent selection of clothing, toys, and accessories based on classic Hayao Miyazaki films (such as Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, and Kiki’s Delivery Service). Their clothing is available in both men’s and women’s options, and if you’re shopping for the latter, then I highly suggest checking out some of the absolutely adorable dresses that they have for sale.

Now this is a bit off topic from the theme of this article, but if you really want to impress the Miyazaki fan in your life, then I highly consider purchasing his collected works on Blu-Ray. This collection is exclusive only to Amazon, so unfortunately it wouldn’t arrive until after Christmas, but it would make one hell of a belated present. Just some food for thought.

Star Wars Jewelry from Kay

Available at: Kay Jewelers
Price: $34.99 – $249.99

Every kiss begins with Star Wars? Okay, that may have been lame, but the Star Wars collection at Kay Jewelers definitely isn’t.

Jewelry has historically been the ultimate last minute gift to get for your loved one, but with this new Kay collection, that stereotypical choice will have a delightfully geeky twist. The collection includes earrings, bracelets, bracelet charms, and necklaces.

P.S: I hope my boyfriend is reading this.

 

A Drone

Available at: Best Buy
Price: $39.99 -$1350.00

A flying machine that your loved one can use to take aerial shots of the roof and spy on the neighbors?

Uh, yes please.

Drones provide hours of fun, and many come standard with video cameras capable of capturing the many aerial adventures you will have. The ones with the best cameras and controls are going to cost you a small fortune, but a mid range drone without a camera can easily be rigged with a GoPro (or similar) camera.

Best Buy has a large selection of Drones for the holiday season, and they start for as little as $39.99! But of course if you do just so happen to have the means to purchase your loved one a drone costing over $1000, then please be my secret santa. Oh, and get them that drone… duh.

Fleece Super Hero Suit

Available at: Target
Price: $17.48- $24.99

Winter is officially here! So if your loved one has a thing for super heroes (or super villains), then you might want to consider getting them a fleece suit to keep them warm throughout the harsh winter months.

Target carries a selection of these suits, with styling options including Batman, Superman, Ninja Turtles, Captain America, Darth Vader. Sizes are available for men, women and children.

And want to know the best part? Almost everyone has a Target near them, and almost every Target carries these superhero fleece suits, making them the absolute perfect last minute gift.

Pretty Much Anything Star Wars

Available: Almost everywhere
Price: Depends

When in doubt, go with Star Wars presents.

Nearly every retailer is carrying some sort of Star Wars swag, be it toys, clothing, bedding, or even soup. So if your geek is a Star Wars fan, then I’m sure you’ll be able to find something that they’ll love.

From my own experience, I have found that Target and Kohls have great deals on officially licensed clothing, and their selections extend far past graphic tees. Plus, many of these clothing items even come with collectible tins!

I’m sure there are countless other last minute geeky gifts that I haven’t thought of, so please comment below with your suggestions! Happy hunting, and happy holidays!

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Beauty Review: Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion +

s1538354-main-LheroClinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion +

What it is: a facial moisturizer recommended for day and night use, twice daily. This is the third and final step in Clinique’s 3-Step Skin Care System

Product information: available on Clinque’s website

Available at: Clinique, Sephora, Macys

Retail price: $26 (normal size)

 

Review:

I recently stumbled upon Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion +, which, in my quest to find the absolute perfect moisturizer, I purchased at the suggestion of a Heaven Sephora employee, who swore to its alleged magical properties.

I used this moisturizer night and day for a week, and what I ultimately learned is that this product will either be your best friend or your mortal enemy, and it’s your skin type that will decide which side prevails.

For me, it unfortunately was the latter.

My skin type is mostly combination, but my face does tend to get oily, especially in the summer and when I’m wearing makeup.

I would use Clinque’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion + immediately after cleansing my face (and for that I use Origins Checks and Balances). That moisturized feeling would hit my skin immediately, and unlike some other moisturizers that I’ve tried, it wasn’t followed by a tight feeling in my skin.

However, even though my face would be full of moisture post application, it didn’t feel like the lotion would absorb into my skin at all as the day would progress. In fact, my skin eventually felt kind of heavy and was very greasy to the touch. Ew.

But I wasn’t sure if that greasy feeling was the lotion itself or if it was actually just oil spewing from my skin like an oceanic spill. So, on a make-up free afternoon I decided to use an oil blotting sheet on my face to see just how much oil had accumulated on my skin since morning.  I blot blot blotted away, and was shocked to see that the sheet was absolutely see through (which, if you’ve never used an oil blotting sheet before, means that there was a lot of oil on my face).

Needless to say, I was repulsed.

I’ve never experienced such a surplus of oil on my face after using a moisturizer, and after a few more days of using Clinque’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion + (which, against my good judgement I continued to use as I had no other moisturizing options until my next trip to Sephora), my face began to break out with some super unsightly pimples. Yuck.

I ended up purchasing a different Clinique moisturizer after trying this one out, but I did ultimately decided to keep the product rather than throwing it out.  I purchased a sample size that came with another product so I wasn’t upset about the cost, and, although this lotion acts a sebum producing monster on my face, I have a feeling that the moisturizing power of Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion + would be absolutely perfect for repairing dry winter skin (especially for my hands!).

Bottom line:

The formula that Clinique went with in this lotion is moisturizing, no doubt, but those with an oily complexion will probably find that it’s too moisturizing. It will act as a protective layer on your skin, which will block your pores, and then your skin will react by creating sebum, which naturally leads to more oil.

So if you have combination oily to oily skin, then this product probably isn’t the one for you and I advise you save yourself the time and money and avoid it.

However, if you have extremely dry skin that isn’t prone to being oily, then this moisturizer will most likely work perfectly for you. The moisturizing power of this lotion is absolutely insane, and it will ensure that your skin stays soft, supple, and moisturized literally all day.

If you have skin with oily tendencies like I do, try Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel, which I will be reviewing soon! Stay tuned!

What is your favorite moisturizer, GeekGirl World? Let us know in the comments!

 

 

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Crafty Geeks Making the Best of Their Small Businesses

It’s becoming more popular every holiday season: shop small, buy local, support small businesses. Depending on who you talk to, you’ll find all kinds of reasons consumers are shying away from the traditional shopping grounds like the mall or department stores or large specialty chains. There are some who despise the crush of the crowds, many who don’t like the early morning lines, and still others who want to passively protest what they feel is the commercialism of the holidays.

The choice to buy from small business has been gaining traction, especially in the last five years since American Express founded the official event known as “Small Business Saturday”, where the Saturday after Black Friday is devoted to focusing on smaller mom n’ pop type shops, or any business that isn’t known for being part of a corporation or large chain.

While the economic blood still belongs to the veins of Black Friday sales and arteries of Cyber Monday deals, according to Forbes.com, Small Business Saturday has the projected potential to get $15 billion flowing through the smaller capillaries of the economy.

Taking fair advantage of niche buying habits of geeks, nerds, and fandom lovers, three geeky entrepreneurs local to Las Vegas have tapped into the natural inclination of fans be more discerning in their purchases. Melanie Davis, Kimberly*, and Allison Cosson all started their small business for different reasons, but they all share the same entrepreneurial spirit that it takes to succeed in a growing competitive market.

Melanie Davis, The MAD Girl With a Box, just started up her business this last September. Barely in the game for even a month, Melanie brought together five other local artists to launch her mobile shop-on-the-go. Customers browse around inside a refurbished trailer, picking up everything from My Little Pony skirts to Teenage Mutant Ninja make up bags.

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Plates and glasses etched with Harry Potter quotes, jewelry from several fandoms, and quirky wall art are as much a decoration in the cozy trailer as they are merchandise.

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Melanie says that one reason for her mobile shop is to “provide a new avenue to market handmade items[…] without relying on conventions” where tables or booths could range “anywhere from $50 to $300.” By keeping the venue cost low, crafters could put more of their investment into better quality items and collect a larger profit at the end of the day.

“I would like to make this my primary business so I can make my own hours and manage my own company.” But Melanie, who also works as a copy editor for Caesar’s Entertainment, is just as invested in her co-crafters’ futures as she is her own. “I work with a few wonderful artists that act as vendors and supply me with my merchandise,” she explains. Buying from her small business doesn’t just benefit her; it also means customers are helping “the artists that are trying to make some extra [money] to support their own families.”

On the other end of the spectrum is Kimberly, the Girl With One Eye, who has been running her own business since 2011. In the small business world, 4 years practically makes Kimberly a veteran. (That old statistic about 80% of new small businesses failing in the first year is too varied to track, but it’s safe to say that 4 years is a healthy run)

The Girl With One Eye is most often seen in convention booths surrounded by homemade clothing and accessories that would beckon over any patron into retro or Harajuku style Gothic Lolita clothing. The mix at the booth is a little June Cleaver sprinkled over some Wednesday Addams melted over Betty Page.

Screenshot 2015-11-27 at 1.06.34 PM

Kimberly says that she only offers items that she’d be proud to wear, and because of that she was unsure how well her first geeky pieces would sell. “It soon became clear that there were a lot of people like me out there who wanted things that were both cute and geeky, so I shifted to focus on more geeky prints.”

Kimberly comes from a long line of sewers and crafters, and because of this she’s had a long time to hone her skills. “I was so used the quality and creative freedom that homemade clothes had to offer that sewing and creating things for myself to wear was just the next step.”

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The impetus for starting her own business followed a diagnosis with a rare form of cancer. “I decided that instead of feeling sorry for myself, I would use this as the inspiration to start the clothing business I had always wanted to do!”

Long term goals for the Girl with One Eye include expansion in both employees and distribution. Kimberly would like to be able to hire a real staff, or at least pay the friends who help her with her creations. Her “ultimate goal,” she admits, would be “to grow GW1E to the level where I will be able to make both custom, one of a kind pieces of clothing, as well as ready to wear clothing that I could wholesale to big box stores!”

Somewhere flexible in between is Allison Cosson who owns Nerdful Things. A contributor to the co-lab efforts of MAD Girl, Allison has also spent the last two years keeping her own Etsy shop stocked with an array of housewares like fandom-themed pub glasses, glass-etched beer steins, and shot glasses, video game inspired key holders and jewelry, and vinyl decals. Fans of the Nightmare Before Christmas, Harry Potter, and German folklore figure Krampus will find holiday decorations available.

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A fixture at many craft fairs and shows in town, Allison’s attractive displays draw all kinds of customers. And while always happy to move her available stock, she says, “If I can create anything your heart desires, I will. Custom orders are more fun to fill I think.”

Allison started making most of the items she now sells out of necessity. “I wanted [and] needed things that represented my grandma and they weren’t readily available, or if I could find them they were outside the price I was looking to pay.” So instead she turned her desires into a crafty collections of unique pieces that eventually expanded into fandom-worthy merchandise. “They’re things I’m interested in and want in my own house,” she says.

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Unlike Melanie and Kimberly, Allison’s goal is keep Nerdful Things “mainly as a side business.” Keeping her small business manageable is a challenge for her. “I mostly just enjoy the making part and customer interaction.”

And really that’s what small businesses are all about. While the goals of entrepreneurs vary, one thing is always the same: positive customer relationships are essential. “I think small businesses don’t get the recognition they deserve most times. It’s hard to start from scratch and try and build up a customer base,” says Allison. Very often a new startup will reach out to family, friends, neighbors, and eventually social media. With online stores like Etsy, easy to assemble websites like Wix, and a consistent Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Yelp updates, a hobby has the potential to quickly turn into a business.

But it’s not enough for the crafter to just advertise and display his or her work. Customers have to keep the snowball rolling too. “If you have a great experience at a local store, share it! Tweet, like, Yelp, post, spread the word! Any bit of advertising is good for the business and would be appreciated by any small business owner up against the big stores,” informs Melanie.

Allison agrees. “Other than a direct sale, a person that believes in your product and is willing to tell everyone about it is the most important thing to a small business owner.”

And because these are not manufactured products but handcrafted items, customers can know that every item they buy is “a piece of [our] talent, [our] knowledge, and [our] blood, sweat, and tears,” impassions Kimberly. “Not only are they buying a one of a kind, wearable piece of art, they are buying it from me, an individual who they quite often get to meet and talk to face to face.”

Despite the love of Black Friday and the traffic of Cyber Monday, the trend of supporting small businesses seems to focus not just on avoiding mass consumerism during the holidays, but redirecting where one’s dollar goes. The current thinking seems to be “We’re going to buy, we’re going to spend, so let’s make that spending count.”

This Small Business Saturday, consider transferring some of your space creds to geeky artists and crafters like Melanie, Kimberly, and Allison. You can show your support of friends and relatives who run their own businesses, or browse any number of shops that specialize in homemade and handcrafted specialties, too. However you spend your money this holiday season, make your dollars count in ways that will benefit those who are working uniquely for you!

Follow MAD’s traveling Box on her Facebook.

You can view more of GW1E’s clothing on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter.

Keep up to date with Nerdful Things’ holiday assortment on Facebook.

*Kimberly was pleased to participate in this article, but asked to omit her full name.
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10 Halloween Costumes to Avoid This Year

Can you believe that Halloween is already upon us?! If you haven’t picked out your costume already, then there’s two basic rules you should follow before you decide on the perfect one:

  1. Don’t be cliche
  2. Don’t be offensive

To help ensure that you don’t make a fool of yourself during your Halloween festivities,  we’ve compiled a list of 10 costumes that should be avoided at all cost!

1. Harley Quinn

Harley Quinn has always been a popular choice for Halloween, but her popularity has risen to a totally different level since the Suicide Squad trailer was unveiled at San Diego Comic Con.

Any variation of Harley Quinn (including Arkham Asylum) is just going to be unoriginal, overdone, and just plain meh this Halloween.

You may think I’m merely making an assumption here, but I recently spent some time at New York Comic Con, and, shit you not, if I took a shot for every Quinn cosplay I saw, I’d be deader than dead. Literally every other woman was dressed up as Quinn.

So… lest you want to become the joke of the party, avoid dressing up like Dr. Harleen Quinzel this year.

Exception: Gender bender Quinn.

Image credit: halloweencostumes.com

2. A Knockoff

If you’re not sure what I mean by this, then just to any costume store and look at the costume titles. A Mario (Super Mario Bros.) costume is normally labeled under “plumber costume”,  and Katniss Everdeen is simply “archer lady.”

These costumes always just end up looking cheap, and super fans of the original character will always point out to you what’s wrong with your costume.

If you plan on going this route, then make sure to pick up some RC Cola on your way to the party!

Exception: Home made character costumes. Those are always charming, and while they may not be precise, they highlight your mad costume making skills and are excellent conversation pieces.

Image credit: halloweencostumes.com

 

3. Power Rangers

There is usually always a group of friends at the Halloween party who thought that dressing up like Power Rangers would be a great idea.

In reality, you’ll find that not only are these costumes overdone, but they’re annoying.

Men, be prepared to make some people super uncomfortable when your your junk is center stage in that flimsy fabric, and women, make sure you invest in Spanx (unless you want to go totally commando, because ALL undergarment lines will show) and be prepared for the absolute nightmare that is bathroom breaks. Pro tip: don’t break the seal.

Exception: Dressing up as a Power Ranger in armor form. Now THAT’S badass.

Image credit: halloweencostumes.com

4. Cultural Costumes

Innocent as your intentions may be, the chances are pretty high that you’ll offend someone with your super cute Native American costume.

Save yourself an earful and avoid all cultural costumes completely.

Exception: Tonto from Lone Ranger. Because Johnny Depp.

 

 

5. A Hashtag

Do I even have to explain why you should avoid this costume? #NO

Exception: NO EXCEPTIONS

Image credit: amazon.com

 

6. Sexy Versions of Unsexy Things

I personally do not like dressing up all sexy for Halloween, but I have absolutely nothing against women who do. If you have a killer body, show it off in a sexy costume, by all means! Halloween is designed for role playing and imagination (even if you are leaving none to it).

But there needs to a line drawn when it comes to what is considered sexy.

Let’s do a quick rundown of what’s sexy and what’s not, just to give you a basic idea of what to avoid:

Black Widow: Sexy!

Sesame Street Characters: …ew

Wonder Woman: Super sexy!

Dora the Explorer: WTF is wrong with you?

Honestly, if it wasn’t sexy to begin with, then don’t try to make it that way.

Exceptions: Honestly, I don’t know.

Image credit: thedcam.com

 

7. Caitlyn Jenner

Seriously? Don’t be that dickhead at the party who thought this was a good/funny idea.

Caitlyn may be all over the news and tabloids these days, but dressing up like her as a joke, lighthearted as it may be, is actually extremely insulting not only to her, but to the transgender community as a whole.

Use some common sense and courtesy and leave this tasteless costume on the shelf to wither and die.

Exception: Just don’t.

Image credit: toynktoys.com

 

8. A Nurse

You’ll feel hot and confident wearing this costume, but the reality is that it’s just sooo overdone.

It’s the typical choice, and that’s not a good thing.

Oh, and what’s even worse than the standard nurse costume? The nurse costume with syringes for alcohol shots. Talk about trashy.

Exceptions: Nurse Joy from Pokemon, unsexy zombie nurse.

Image credit: halloweencostumes.com

9. Donald Trump

Political costumes are a perennial favorite and are often overdone in general, but if you are going this route and want to stand out from the crowd of faux candidates this Halloween, then you might want to avoid dressing up like Donald Trump.

His high profile nature, eccentricity, and ridiculous hair all make him a popular costume choice, so expect to see him on Halloween more than any other would-be presidential candidate.

Instead, why not try dressing up like a stoner version of Bernie Sanders or something? Just spitballing here.

Exceptions: Oh, I don’t know, zombie Trump?

Image credit: complex.com

10. Elsa (or Anna)

I love Frozen as much as the next gal, but just let it go already (lame pun absolutely intended).

This costume is way too popular, and honestly, there are plenty of other Disney ladies who need some love.

Maybe try dressing up as Merida? Or what about Mulan? Jasmine? There are way too many options!

Exceptions: I think having everything zombified is the ultimate exception.

Image credit: costumeexpress.com

What other costumes should be avoided this Halloween? Let us know in the comments! And for more costumes to avoid, check out last years list!

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Nerdybound: 80’s Horror

The greatest holiday of the year is quickly approaching and what better way to celebrate than through fashion. Halloween has always been one of my favorite times of year, not only for the candy, but because everyone can dress up as anything they can imagine. It is a chance to be what you’ve always wanted to be, to let loose and do something completely out of your comfort zone, and just have fun. Growing up I always celebrated Halloween by watching all the classic 80’s horror movies and wanted to use those as inspiration this week. I know Billy and the SAW movies are far from 80’s, but he has such a classic look I included him as well.

Pinhead: Hellraiser

pinhead

Shop the look: YIANNA Steampunk punk rock faux leather buckle-up corset $29 Plus-size option:Worthington cap-sleeve seamed faux leather peplum blouse $24 Jade PU knee zip detail trousers $26 Plus-size option:ASOS CURVE legging with stud & mesh $34 Black patent croc cut out biker boots with gold clasps $15 Tenflyer retro women gothic black lace faux gem tassel necklace $2.37 Chicanova fashion pentacle cross earrings $3.30

Chucky: Child’s Play

chucky

Shop the look: Blue button double pocket denim overall dress $18 Plus-size option:Forever 21 plus zip-front overall dress $28 Tanga Tee in black rainbow stripe by Motel $38 Plus-size option:Ralph Lauren plus three-quarter sleeved sweater $82 Rainbow stripe acrylic knee $13 Vans authentic lo pro black/true white skate shoes, pink $25 Knife necklace $28

Freddy Krueger: Nightmare on Elm Street

freddy

Shop the look: Jag Jeans Wells tee classic fit shirt striped jersey $39 Plus-size option:Striped roll-sleve tee with zippered shoulders $15 Huntington rolled cuff distressed jeans $27 Plus-size option:Plus Ryan denim boyfriend jeans $40 SheIn black thick-soled PU boots $36 Mirror gold pizza slice acrylic necklace $20 Forever 21 women’s studded wide-brim fedora $20

The Leprechaun

lep

Shop the look: Crew Factory sleeveless cascade ruffle blouse $32 Plus-size option:Ashley Stewart button front ruffle collar shirt $37 Puff-sleeve Blazer $78 Plus-size option:Lands’ End plus size boiled wool jacket $80 Doublju Women’s cut out elastic waist sexy midi pencil skirt $12 Plus-size option:Alfani plus size classis pencil skirt $32 $36 ALDO Yuille bracelet $15 Bling jewelry gold plated celtic love knot earrings $18

Billy: Saw

billy

Shop the look: Long sleeve cropped button down shirt $23 Plus-size option: Bluetime women’s linen soft long sleeve button-down shirt $10LE3NO Women’s slim fit single button tailored boyfriend blazer suit jacket $29 Plus-size option:Black Ladies candy color plus size blazer $39 Black scallop hem suit shorts $15 Plus-size option:Women with control petite tummy control flounce skirt $27 Women’s pleaser dream 420W-red patent dress $42 NOVICA handcrafted modern fine silver dangle earrings $48 Fire engine red band collat bow tie $4.95 Collette Z Silvertone base metal ‘I Love You to Pieces’ puzzle necklace $19

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Surviving the Summer Break for ‘Once Upon a Time’ Fans – How to Eat Like a Queen!

I’ve been dealing with an end of summer cold this week, which I think is absolutely terrible. Not only am I sick, but the virus didn’t even have the decency wait until it wasn’t 110 degrees where I live. Being curled up with Thera-flu and a thermometer on the couch has really put me in the mindset for colder weather and chicken soup.

I’ve always turned to comfort food in my times of need. I’m fairly certain that if I didn’t have such a penchant for fandoms and all the stress they cause me, I’d probably be fifty pounds lighter. And no size-shaming here, it’s just a fact of life for me and always has been. But I enjoy it. My grandmother would say, “the heart of the home is in the kitchen,” and I wholeheartedly believe that. Food may not equal love, but it is one way to show your love for others, and for yourself! Food also helps us celebrate events we love, and I love September because Once Upon a Time comes back!

So in honor of September (which officially kicks off the Autumn eating season for me), here are seven toasty, cozy meals and drinks inspired by Once Upon a Time to work into your Autumn menu

Blue Fairie’s Birthday Buttercream Wishing Cupcake

Property of ABC
“If I’d have known it was going to grant me a wish, I would have asked for a new beanie.”

This is the cupcake that started it all! Bust open any box of pre-made cake mix, and while they’re baking make this indulgent frosting. Don’t forget the blue star on top! Spritz makes perfect ones for this cupcake, but they are frequently out of stock, so you might have to settle for Betty Crocker’s instead.

The secret ingredient is butter!

Emma’s Favorite Grilled Cheese and Onion Rings

A Sheriff’s office staple, especially if things get chilly when the Snow Queen comes ‘round! Emma gets hungry for them, so they must be good! With 20 variations on the classic lunchtime treat from Serious Eats, you’ll be sure to find one that suits your palate.

Vegetables are basically a vehicle for batter and oil.

And at 4.8 stars and 130 reviews, Guy Fieri’s Beer Battered Onion Rings will make a much-desired side to your buttery, melty sandwich. The only thing better would be if your favorite OUaT character delivered them to you!

“Onion rings! My father’s wrong about you not being a good provider.”

Granny’s Lasagna

I came here to serve lasagna and kick butt. And I’m all out of lasagna!

*SPOILERS* We find out that Granny’s lasagna is of the frozen variety! Whether that means she pre-makes and freezes them to store in her walk-in fridge/werewolf cage, or she orders them from some lasagna factory that delivers over the magical border, it’s still a popular dish at Granny’s Diner. Good for a Sunday family sit-down, or to pick at a slice at a time for leftovers, this recipe will fill you up with all the food groups!

This is the most staged photo of lasagna I’ve ever seen. The pan underneath is clean.

Belle’s Hamburgers

“Please don’t talk to me until I’ve had my morning burger, thanks.”

If there’s anyone who’s found magic in masticating, it’s Belle! After being locked up for 28 years in the psych ward, Belle was thrilled to finally be freed from the confines of both her straight jacket and the hospital menu. She found great joy in the burgers at Granny’s. Try your hand at flipping some of these thick and juicy patties on the grill as the last days of summer turn cool, or follow the directions and fry them in butter for an easy cold weather dinner.

“TREAT YO SELF” – Belle (probably)

Regina’s Apple Turnovers

“After this, I’ll teach you how to grind bones to make bread!”

You don’t need a Blue Apron subscription to enjoy this recipe, which is a super easy and delicious 5-ingredient apple turnover that anyone who can slice an apple can make! Just make sure you use non-poisoned apples so you don’t get any comatose kids lying around. For a totally unnecessary addition of 200 calories, skip the whipped cream and dip your warm bites in cold vanilla pudding. You’re welcome for that.

This picture doesn’t do them justice.

Henry’s Hot Chocolate (Don’t forget the cinnamon!)

Disney’s audio animatronics are getting really impressive.

No more packets of powder mixed with water! YUCK! Why would you do that? Make this concoction instead. With heavy whipping cream as a base, you know this drink will be hearty and comforting. Cocoa should always be shared, so don’t just make a mug or two. Put that crock pot to work and whip up this decadent brew. It’s so good that it might make you forget about pie! Just kidding. What kind of weirdo forgets about pie? 

I would swim around in this and drink myself to the bottom.

Zelena’s Meat Pie

“I am totally not crazy, and you can tell by how I made my hostage a candlelit dinner.”

These are by far the most complicated items on the list to make, but well-worth it. They are a little different from the style Rumple made as a child with the Spinsters as well the ones Zelena made him while holding him captive. But these are easier to make, and easier to take along with you on cold mornings. These are sometimes called hand pies because they’re so portable. You can make a huge batch and freeze them individually for a no-fuss dinner. If the flaky pastry is a little intimidating, try using pre-made pastry sheets found in the frozen dessert area at the store. 

Mashed potatoes were invented for this.

With 20 days left until the Season 5 premiere of OUaT, you’ll have plenty of time to try out these recipes. Let us know in the comments how they worked out for you! And don’t forget to share with us your favorite Once Upon a Time food or beverage?

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CoverGirl to Launch ‘Star Wars’ Inspired Makeup Collection

Easy, breezy, beautiful… Jedi girl?

Disney, CoverGirl and Max Factor have teamed up in order to create an entire makeup collection inspired by Star Wars, and we couldn’t be more excited!

The new collection will include mascara, lipstick, and nail polish, all of which will be branded with the CoverGirl and Star Wars logos.

Their mascara in particular will be somewhat of a collectors item, as each tube will have a quote from Star Wars engraved right on the side. You’ll have to choose your allegiance carefully, as the mascara will be divided between “Light Side” and “Dark Side.” It won’t matter too much, though, as they’re actually exactly the same shade of black. There will be a total of 10 different tubes to collect, which is DEFINITELY enough to last you like.. light years.

ggw

Renowned makeup artist Pat McGrath was responsible for the creation of CoverGirl’s geeky new line, and it turns out that she’s a fan of the epic series just as much as the rest of us.

“I watched my first film as a young girl and, like the rest of the world, was completely blown away,” she told The Huffington Post. “I immediately fell in love with the storyline, the never-before-seen special effects, and the amazing hair, makeup, and wardrobe of Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, Hans Solo, Darth Vader, and all of the other characters.”

The collection will officially launch on September 4 and will roll out in stores nationwide mid-September.

Will you be picking up some new Star Wars inspired beauty staples? Let us know in the comments below!

Image credit: Allure.

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