If you’re anything like me, you probably have a stash of old eye shadow that you know you’ll never use again, but you just can’t bear to toss. Here is a simple, inexpensive way to make it new again – all you need is a bottle or two of clear nail polish. If you don’t have any at home, search the drugstore for the best, least expensive clear polish you can find (I wouldn’t go above $3.50).

Mixing Tip: Boost your new color up a notch by mixing multiple powders. Try purple with grey for a matte mauve, or lighten any dark shadow with white.



By Julia Ivins, Staff Writer

Did you find this beauty tip helpful? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us at @ruelala, then check out our Rue How-To column every Wednesday.

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April 3, 2013

From backyard cocktail parties to Sunday barbecues, springtime festivities call for a change of décor – and these candles are just the thing. Prep time: five minutes. Cost: pick up a box of tea lights at the dollar store, or at the grocery store where you buy your coffee – all in all, about six dollars. Result: candles that make the house smell like a coffee shop. BLG-1365_coffe-beans[2] By Julia Ivins, Staff Writer

What do you think of using coffee beans for candles? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us at @ruelala, then check out our Rue How-To column every Wednesday.

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March 27, 2013

From headband to halter top, there are many ways to repurpose a scarf… safely. So when blog browsing taught me a way to easily transform one into a miniskirt, I immediately thought wardrobe disaster – but then remembered my affinity for free clothes.

Start with a scarf. The one I used here is cashmere, 72 inches long, 32 inches wide, and fringed. Fold it in half (the long way) and begin. Tip: Unless you’re wearing it over a bathing suit, use a safety pin or fancy brooch for secure fastening.


By Julia Ivins, Staff Writer

How else would you wrap a scarf skirt? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us at @ruelala, then check out our Rue How-To column every Wednesday.

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March 20, 2013

Life moves fast (deep, I know). Chasing the bus down the street and getting to work on time is a daily challenge in itself. In an effort to slow the pace, I encourage you to rediscover the magic that is a bath. Spoon in a few scoops of these vanilla eucalyptus bath salts, light a candle or two,  and inhale the soothing aromas.


A few helpful tips: Skip the first step and pick up a large jar of combined Epsom and Dead Sea salts at the craft store for only a few dollars. Also, if you don’t love the smell of eucalyptus, use any type of dried herb or flower (like lavender or rosemary). Finally, I used the same coloring and fragrance as I did for this DIY soap, so if you have any left over, save yourself the extra trip.

By Julia Ivins, Staff Writer

How did your bath salt scrub turn out? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us at @ruelala, then check out our Rue How-To column every Wednesday.

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March 13, 2013

Generally, I’m a liquid soap kind of person. But there’s something about these artfully designed bar soaps that spruce up a space. They also make an impressive gift in a pinch (just tie them with a ribbon). All you need are a few key ingredients. Choose your favorite colors (or ones that complement your wallpaper), any fragrance (from chamomile to peppermint), then melt the soap, stir it, pour it, cool it, and you’re done.


Makes one 4-ounce bar of soap

What you’ll need:

  • Sharp knife
  • Opaque white soap (I bought a 2-pound pack of shea butter soap from my local craft store. You can also find it online.)
  • Glass bowl
  • Spoon
  • Food coloring
  • Vanilla fragrance or essential oil
  • Soap molds
  • Soap stamps

How to do it:

  1. With a sharp knife, cut a 4-ounce block of soap and place it in a microwaveable glass bowl.
  2. Melt on high for 30 seconds. Stir, then place soap back in microwave for three to five 10 – 12 second intervals, stirring in between each interval until soap is completely melted.
  3. Remove soap from microwave. Add food coloring to soap one drop at a time, stirring between each drop, until desired color is achieved.
  4. Add fragrance or essential oil. A good rule of thumb for fragrances is about 5 drops per ounce. Mix thoroughly.
  5. With your stir spoon, put 3 – 4 drops of soap on the bottom of the soap mold. This will act as a glue for the stamp.
  6. Firmly press the stamp into the mold with the design facing up. At this point, if your bowl of soap has hardened at the surface at all, give it one last stir, or place it back in the microwave for a few seconds.
  7. Pour the soap into the mold.
  8. Leave the soap out to harden for 40 minutes to an hour, or place it in the refrigerator for faster cooling.

Continue reading “Rue How-To: Make Your Own Hand Soap” »

March 6, 2013

I’ve discovered the easiest way to make your own uber-moisturizing, inexpensive, and shiny-as-the-department-store-brand lip gloss. All you need? A few items from your makeup arsenal and a tiny bit of patience. Here are the details:

Rummage through your makeup and pick out a pot from an old powder or lotion sample – one that you won’t mind cleaning out. Can’t find one? There’s a space on almost every eye shadow compact with a small applicator brush (looks like this) that almost no one uses. This, my crafty friends, is the perfect spot for lip gloss.


What you’ll need:

How to do it:

  1. Wash a makeup pot with soap and hot water. Dry thoroughly.
  2. Scoop about a teaspoon of petroleum jelly into the pot. If you are using the brush space next to an eye shadow, it will likely be less. Use your best judgment.
  3. With a knife, cut about 1/4 inch of lipstick and place it directly in the petroleum jelly. The lipstick is mainly for color. Use more or less depending on how opaque you prefer your gloss.
  4. Set your blow-dryer on low strength and high heat. Aim the air at the pot with 6 – 12 inches of space between the dryer and the gloss. This is where the tiny bit of patience comes in. Rotate the pot in your fingers as it heats for about 30 seconds, or until the materials begin to melt.
  5. Using a toothpick, stir the lipstick into the petroleum jelly. Blow-dry for another 30 seconds, then stir again. Repeat this process until smooth.
  6. Place the pot in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
  7. Cap it, and you’re done.

By Julia Ivins, Staff Writer

Do you have any DIY lip gloss recipes of your own? Tell us in the comments below, or tweet us at @ruelala.

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February 27, 2013

I’m proud to say that I’m a snail-mail girl. The odd handwritten note that arrives in my mailbox – from save-the-dates to “how’s that eyeliner working out for you?” from the nice girl at Bobbi Brown – incites excitement. I’m constantly on the lookout for fun stationery, thank-you notes, and the like, so when I discovered $2 blank notecards at the craft store, I was pretty pumped. Handwritten and handmade letters? Grandma will be so proud. Here’s how you do it:


What you’ll need:

  • Blank notecards and envelopes
  • Paint (I used Artist’s Loft acrylic paint in magenta)
  • Stamp (any letter or design you prefer – I opted for a cursive “J”)
  • Paintbrush
  • Sponges
  • Masking tape
  • Scissors
  • Newspaper

How to do it:


  1. Prepare a surface with newspaper.
  2. Squeeze a dollop of paint onto the paper.
  3. Using a small paintbrush, paint the rubber side of the stamp (the water-based acrylic paint will easily wash off when you’re finished).
  4. Gently press the stamp onto the notecard and let it dry.


  1. Cut a piece of wide masking tape, about 3 – 3.5 inches long.
  2. Stick the tape on the envelope where you would like the address box to be.
  3. Use another small piece of tape for the corner where the stamp will go.
  4. Dip the sponge into the paint and lightly dab the envelope, covering it completely.
  5. After 4 – 5 minutes, gently (so not to tear the envelope) remove the tape.

By Julia Ivins, Staff Writer

Joining the mission to bring back snail mail (bills not included)? Tell us in the comments below, or tweet us at @ruelala.

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February 20, 2013

Ladies and gentlemen, tomorrow’s the day. If you’ve prepped your partner, flowers are in your future (hopefully delivered to your desk at work, in front of all your friends). The downside? In three to five days, those pretty petals will begin to wilt. In the spirit of being crafty – and a tiny bit sentimental – here are two ways to preserve that bouquet for years to come.

Screen Shot 2013-02-13 at 11.34.46 AM

The Hairspray Method
Ideal for flowers with delicate petals, like daisies, tulips, and lilies.

What you’ll need:

  • Bottle of aerosol hairspray
  • Twine

How to do it:

  1. Remove flowers from their vase when they’re in full bloom (or at least before they begin to wilt).
  2. Lightly mist each flower with hairspray.
  3. Tie twine to the flowers’ stems and hang them upside down in a cool, dark place (like your basement or closet) for two to five days.
  4. Arrange them back in the vase. If you’re careful not to break the petals (this can be tricky), the colors and shapes of the flowers will last.

The Oven Method
Works best with more compact flowers, like roses, carnations, marigolds, and chrysanthemums.

What you’ll need:

  • Oven
  • Baking dish
  • Sand (hit the craft store, unless you live near the coast)

How to do it:

  1. Set oven to its lowest temperature, between 100 and 200°F.
  2. Fill the bottom of the baking dish with one to two inches of sand.
  3. Place the flowers in the dish and cover completely with sand.
  4. Place the dish in the oven for two to three hours. Check the oven periodically to make sure it does not get too hot, and leave the oven door ajar for extra circulation.

By Julia Ivins, Staff Writer

Have an idea to make your Valentine’s Day flowers last? Tell us in the comments below, or tweet us at @ruelala.

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February 13, 2013

We all have a beloved pair of heels or flats that are a touch too worn to wear, yet we can’t seem to toss them in the giveaway bin. The fastest (and surprisingly simplest) way to take them from drab to nearly new (sans Sharpie®)? Add some paint, and what was once a scuffed winter pair just became spring’s go-tos.

What you’ll need:
Masking tape
White acrylic paint
Color acrylic paint
Paint brush
Small cup of water

How to do it:
1. Use a rag to clean up a pair of slightly worn shoes.
2. Wrap the masking tape tightly around the toe of each shoe, exposing only the area you plan to paint.
3. Apply one coat of white paint. Let it dry for one to two hours.
4. Add one or two coats of color paint over the white paint. Dip the brush in a small cup of water to smooth out the strokes.
5. Let the paint set. Peel off the tape before it dries completely to prevent cracking.

By Julia Ivins, Staff Writer

How did your cap-toe shoes come out? Tell us in the comments below, or tweet us at @ruelala.

Not a Member and like The (Style) Guide? You’ll love Rue La La. Join now.

February 6, 2013

By now, you’ve probably heard of Pinterest (and the many reasons we’re all obsessed with it) – but what exactly is it? We like to think of Pinterest as a virtual bulletin board for our favorite things, so there’s no more losing those melt-in-your-mouth recipes or that DIY mani we spotted while trolling the Internet on our lunch break.

If you haven’t had much time to explore the endless eye candy that is Pinterest, here’s a summary to get you started (plus some worthy tips for the seasoned pro).


Be specific.
If you’re like us and you tend to forget things like where you left your car keys, there’s a good chance you won’t remember where that pair of jeans went if everything goes into a board called “My Favorite Things.” Splitting your boards up into categories (i.e. Food, Cocktails, Weekend Style, Positive Quotes) will help you keep your boards organized (so it’s easy to find everything you need to throw an Oscar party).

Give kudos.
Repinning from someone else’s board? It never hurts to “like” or “comment” on the image you borrowed – with the added bonus of a potential follower in return.

Know who to follow.
We’re self-proclaimed Pinterest addicts, which means we round up the best Pinboards to follow once a week, every week. And for endless inspiration to match your style, turn to your favorite magazines, clothing designers, and celebrities with the same aesthetic you’re into – chances are, they’re already on Pinterest, pinning up a storm.

Install a “Pin It” button on your bookmarks bar.
This is quite possibly our favorite – and by far the easiest – way to pin your inspiration. The “Goodies” section of Pinterest has all the instructions for installing the “Pin It” button to your bookmarks bar. Then, any time you want to pin an image you come across (such as while reading our latest road test), you can click the “Pin It” button and voilà! It’s up on the Pinterest board of your choice.

Want to practice your newfound Pinterest knowledge? Stay tuned for our Rue La La + Madewell: Love At First Sight Sweepstakes, launching February 5 at 11AM ET.

By Melissa Mann, Staff Writer

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February 4, 2013