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.

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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.

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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

Polka Dot Nails

If CÉLINE’s head-to-toe ensemble for the Resort 2013 collection is any indication, the polka dot trend is set to pop up all over this season. To give your nails a piece of the spotted fun, check out the tips below on how to achieve a fashion-forward polka dot manicure:

What You’ll Need:

  • Two polish colors (I used essie’s “Lady Like” and Sally Hansen’s “White On”)
  • Scrap paper
  • Mechanical pencil
  • Clear top coat

The How-To:

  1. Paint your nails with two coats of the color you would like for the base. Let them dry completely.
  2. Put three large drops of your second color on a piece of scrap paper.
  3. Dab the tip of the mechanical pencil into the puddle of polish and gently dot each nail until you get a design you like.
  4. Let polka dots dry for a few minutes.
  5. Apply a clear top coat to finish.

By Carolyn Schultz, Staff Writer

Have a manicure tip? Share in the comments below, or tweet us at @ruelala.

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March 4, 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.

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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:

BLG-STATIONARY

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:

Card

  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.

Envelope

  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

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Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and there’s nothing more meaningful than a homemade gift. Bet you never thought of it, but guys like scented candles just as much as we do (and usually their apartments need them more than ours). So, consider this the gift for your bestie, brother, coworker – and even your main squeeze.

What you’ll need:
• 10 unscented tea lights (or beeswax)
• Old pot
• Stove top
• Tweezers
• One 6-inch candle wick (available at craft store, or make your own)
• Pencil
• Small glass or tin jar
• Tongs
• Essential oils of your choice (my favorite combination is vanilla and jasmine)
• Scissors

How to do it:
1.
Place about 10 tea lights in the bottom of an old pot.
2. Turn the stove burner on low heat and keep an eye on the candles as they melt.
3. When the wax has melted, remove each wick with a pair of tweezers and discard.
4. Tie the fresh wick around a pencil and balance it over the opening of your jar so the wick hangs straight down.
5. Using the tongs, remove each tea light from the pot and carefully pour the melted wax into your jar, leaving about 1/2 inch at the top.
6. Mix in 20 – 40 drops of the essential oils of your choice.
7. Allow to set and cool.
8. Trim your wick to 1/8 inch and enjoy!

By Grace Romanowsky of Valenki By ACE, Staff Writer

How did your road test fare? Share in the comments below or tweet us at @ruelala.

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February 9, 2013

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Confession: I rarely wash my hair every day. I’ve experimented with a few different store-bought brands of dry shampoo over the years, and while I’ve enjoyed the results, I could definitely do without the price tag (as well as all the additional chemical ingredients). Forgo washing and blow-drying your hair on day two and cash in on some extra minutes of beauty sleep with the help of a few common household supplies and this homemade dry shampoo recipe.

What you’ll need:
• 1/2 cup baking soda
• 1/2 cup whole grain oatmeal
• Sprig of dried lavender or 10 – 15 drops lavender essential oil (or any scent of your choice)
• Food processor
• Small jar with airtight lid
• Old makeup brush
• Fine-tooth comb

How to do it:
1. Combine the baking soda and oatmeal together in a food processor and grind until they form a fine powder.
2. Add the dried lavender or essential oil and mix well.
3. Scoop mixture into a small jar for storage.
4. Part your hair into three sections and use the makeup brush to lightly dust the mixture onto each section’s roots.
5. Work the fine-tooth comb from root to tip to brush out any excess powder.

By Grace Romanowsky of Valenki By ACE, Staff Writer

How did your road test fare? Share in the comments below or tweet us at @ruelala.

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February 2, 2013

To anyone who knows me, it’s no secret that I’m not a regular runner (my college lacrosse days are long gone). But with the start of a new year and the motivation of a friendly bet, I’ve actually been hitting the pavement, er, treadmill for two weeks now. How do I know what I’m doing? Well, I don’t – but I did find some helpful tips for everything from tricks to finding the right running shoe to exercises that increase speed. Aside from an energy-spiking playlist, here are my favorite findings:

Wear the right sneaker: Admittedly, I am still wearing the same sneakers I’ve had since sophomore year of high school (I wish that was a joke). But I’m just about ready to commit to this enough to camp out in the specialty store until I find the right sneakers for my seriously flat feet. Fun fact: you should replace your running shoes every 300 – 400 miles.

Perfect your technique: When I first read SHAPE Magazine’s 10 tips for improving running technique, I was a little surprised. With advice like don’t land on your heel and use shorter strides rather than long strides, I’m realizing (quickly) how much work I have in store.

Build muscle to run faster: As much as squats (and anything that resembles the leg-trembling cousin of the lunge) give me nightmares, they are incredibly effective for strength training. But pain is gain (or so they say), and these four leg exercises promise to make you feel the burn.

One other benefit to taking up this healthy pastime? Running tours. Can you think of a better way to see a city you’re visiting? I didn’t think so. It’s social, you get in your exercise for the day, and you see all the sites firsthand. There is no downside.

Our Go For a Run Men’s and Women’s Boutiques open Saturday, January 26, at 11AM ET.

By Abigail Kuzia, Editor

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January 26, 2013

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I don’t know whether it’s the abrupt end to the excitement of the holidays, the fact that the entire city seems to be coming down with a cold, or the way the CVS candy aisle goes from being my favorite place during Halloween to my worst nightmare around Valentine’s Day, but I somehow always need a pick-me-up during these late winter months. I’ve wanted to experiment with aromatherapy for awhile, and considering all of the physical and emotional benefits of essential oils, I figured now was the perfect time to give it a whirl.

Aromatherapy Mist

What you’ll need:
• 6 tablespoons (1 ounce) distilled water
• Fine mist spray bottle
• Dropper
• 10 – 15 drops essential oil

How to do it:
1. Pour the distilled water into the spray bottle.
2. Use the dropper to add the essential oil of your choice. (I used orange because it’s both uplifting and calming.)
3. Use as a room freshener or linen spray.
4. Shake the mister between uses.

Aromatherapy Air Freshener

What you’ll need:
• Spray paint
• Small Mason jar with screw-on lid
• Hammer
• Nail
• Baking soda
• 8 – 10 drops essential oil

How to do it:
1. Spray-paint the lid of the Mason jar the color of your choice. (This is done to cover the jar’s logo.) Let dry.
2. Using the hammer and nail, carefully poke about a dozen holes in the lid. I did this in a heart design.
3. Fill about 1/4 of the jar with baking soda.
4. Add 8 drops of the essential oil of your choice. (I used 6 lavender and 4 vanilla.)
5. Screw on the lid and place in your bathroom, closet, or kitchen to enjoy the calming and sweet aroma.
6. Shake from time to time to renew the scent.

By Grace Romanowsky of Valenki By ACE, Staff Writer

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January 24, 2013

In an effort to prolong the life of my favorite pair of dark-wash J Brand skinnies, I had to start thinking outside the box – or, in this case, the washing machine.

Cue freeze cleaning. When I first heard about the freeze-cleaning method, I’ll admit it took a while for me to warm up to the idea. But I’ll try anything to avoid doing my laundry (conventionally), and the benefits are completely worth it. The process helps protect dark washes by avoiding the wear and tear a normal spin cycle has on the fabric. By skipping the washer, you will also inadvertently conserve water (and save on the bill that comes with it).

But how exactly does it work? The frosty temp inside the icebox kills any bacteria living in your denim. This process won’t rid the jeans of cosmetic stains, but spot treating prior to freezing should do the trick.

Freeze Clean Denim

Try it for yourself:

1. Fold your jeans twice lengthwise and smooth out any wrinkles in the fabric.

2. Slip the folded denim into a ziplock freezer bag and press out any excess air prior to sealing. I suggest using a bag with a one-gallon capacity or larger.

3. Place the bag in the freezer. For best results, freeze for a minimum of 24 hours.

By Jillian Hudon, Staff Writer 

Have you tried freeze cleaning before? Tell us how it went in the comments below, or tweet us at @ruelala.

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January 18, 2013