Homemade Makeup Brush Cleaner

Don't let your brushes go half a year without cleaning them (like I do). It's not fair to your brushes and it's not fair to your lovely skin!

Just mix up some of these:
Distilled water
Rubbing alcohol
Castile soap
Natural shampoo
Natural conditioner

I don't think the amount is extremely important, just emphasize the water and alcohol, and use less on the rest. Do what feels right.

Swirl your brushes around in the mixture a few times and then rinse them off, trying not to get the metal part of your brush wet. Dry them face down in a glass on top of some paper towels for a few hours. Then lay them flat on a towel for another few hours. Then just use a hairdryer because you're impatient.

I found this recipe somewhere online and read that it was one of the best concoctions some people had ever tried. I honestly was so surprised at how well this cleaned my brushes the first time I tried it. It'll have them looking as fresh as new and softer than ever! I bet you could use witch hazel instead of rubbing alcohol, too.

Do you guys clean your makeup brushes? What do you use? Lemme hear it!


feet for all!

If you've been following along for the past few months, you're probably aware of the "365 Days of Feet" project I started in September. Every day I've been taking a photo of my feet standing on a different surface. Every day I've been using my DSLR to shoot these photos, and I still plan on doing that, but yesterday I thought, "Why not use your phone, too?" It takes two seconds to snap a picture with an iPhone, and I ALWAYS have mine with me. So yesterday, on day 65 of the project, I took a photo of my feet with both my camera AND my iPhone. Now, we all know there's no point of an iPhone photo if it's not going on Instagram. So I put it on Instagram -- and I included a hashtag: #hummusbird365.

And that's when another idea sparked. Wouldn't it be fun some of you guys took part in the project with me? I'm not talking about you taking a photo every day (unless you want to, of course!), just one measly little photo one day! Or one photo every few weeks! I would absolutely love if any of you wanted to join in with me. It'll feel like more of a group project as opposed to this solo ish -- and I'm sure I'll be inspired to get more creative with my shots! If you ever get the urge, just upload a picture of your feet to Instagram and tag it #hummusbird365. I'll be doing so for the next 299 days, and I'd love to see some extra photos in there that aren't of my own feet!

Don't feel obligated to join in, but seriously.. you should do it.


so smitten: ollie booboo

I am so smitten with this little one. I adopted this precious ball of fur almost 3 months ago, and have been experiencing non-stop heart melts ever since. He is so sweet. Look at that wittle face! I honestly can't deal with it sometimes. I literally pick him up four seconds after I put him down. He is too much. I don't even know what that phrase means, but he really is. He still keeps me up for hours at night and then wakes me up again at 5am, but I don't know what I would do without my little buddy.

I have a little something I need to confess to everyone. Now, as most of you probably know, his name is Oliver. Oliver Milton Homeboy to be exact. As a nickname, I call him Ollie. Naturally. He even has his own hashtag. #Olliegram. Are you with me so far? Okay. So to be cute, or whatever, I sometimes add Booboo in there. So he's Ollie Booboo. Okay, that makes sense. Sometimes I even drop his first name altogether and just call him Booboo. That's cool. But do you know what I've found myself doing lately? I've found myself shortenting Booboo. And to what? Boob. Sometimes I even pluralize it. Boobs. So I have this adorable cat, and here I am running around calling him Boobs. Hi Boobs! Is that weird? It's freaking weird. I'm cracking up right now thinking about it.

Oh well, he's the cutest Boob I've ever held. I mean, wait.


sweet kick

When was the last time you had homemade Rice Krispie* treats? Holy cow. I made a batch of these guys over the weekend. They are even more delicious than I imagined. Actually, no. They are EXACTLY how I remembered them. Thass a good thing, yo. And so freaking easy to make.

Melt butter.
Stir in marshmallows.
Add cereal.
Transfer to pan.
Let cool.

I made half a pan's worth and then filled the other half with some delicious organic flake-like cereal. It might have had nuts in it, too. Clearly I have no idea what it's called. But those guys came out delicious, as well.

I will have you know, I did NOT make these "just because." I was going to see my relatives and wanted to bring something.. but of course I ate about 7 while I was making them. And a few more when they were done. And now I'm over it. Sweets are bad. But these things are just so good.

*I think "Krispie" is supposed to be pluralized. But who says it that way? No one says it that way.


shampoo! wait.

Once upon a time, my hair was pretty lovely. I didn't KNOW it was lovely, mind you, until I moved to a far off land called Philadelphia, and it turned to complete straw. It was then that I realized that my drier-than-average, cowlicked, split-ended mane that I had had before was not actually so bad.

New York is a soft water state. Pennsylvania is a hard water state. The change from soft water to hard water is nothing short of horrifying. Hard water is filled with lovely (disgusting) minerals that build up on your hair and actually COUNTERACT what your shampoo tries so desperately to do. The result is dry, brittle, dull, sticky-feeling, lifeless hair. It's the worst.

I did a post for Free People over the summer on 4 Ways to Beat Hard Water Hair, but I have to tell you, prior to writing that post, I hadn't tried any of the ways I listed. I mean, I DID get a water filter, but what I really should have gotten was a water SOFTENER. I DID try a clarifying shampoo, but it wasn't a chelating shampoo. I have since used an apple cider vinegar rinse, but I'm not sold on it. And I can't use argan oil because my skin breaks out from it.

So 4 months later, what works for my hair? Dishwashing soap.

I kid you not. Before I get in the shower, I literally pop over to my kitchen, grab the natural dishwashing soap from atop my sink, and get to washing. Before starting this regimen, I had vaguely remembered my sister Gretchen mentioning something about dishwashing soap as she scoured the internet for quick fixes for my hair problem (what a good sister she is!). Though she had no recollection of ever mentioning it, and though it was just a cloud of a memory in my mind, I decided to try it. And I love it.

Dishwashing soap is meant to remove buildup from your dishes, so why shouldn't it do the same for your hair? I think it's the citric acid that does the trick. I make sure to use a product with the most natural ingredients I can find, just because, you know. It's going on my body.

My hair is definitely not back to the way it used to be, but I can say it's not as much of an annoyance as it was for my first 5 months here in Philly.

I'm still in search of a miracle product, though. I was recently reading about Joico K-PAK Chelating Shampoo, and most of the reviews seem amazing. I'mma try to get my hands on it as soon as I can.

If you guys have any solutions for fighting hard water hair, let a girl know!


philly in nature

A few weeks ago I brought my Philly friends back home to Long Island with me for the weekend. We went to a Halloween house party at my friends' place -- I love house parties so darn much -- and then spent the next day hanging out in nature / eating bagels at the deli where I used to work. It was so awesome to show my friends an extra little piece of my life. They even said they now feel like they understand why I am the way I am, which melted my heart a little. I think it's also probably a lot easier for them to understand why I come to Long Island so often. Firstly because my family is so darn lovable, and secondly because the peaceful nature aspect is something that we just don't come across living in Philly. It was a lovely weekend. These girls are quite a riot. I love them to death.. and I have a feeling we'll be coming back very soon. :)


let's help this little angel inspire other little angels!


Just over two and a half years ago, my family unexpectly lost our beautiful angel of a mother to heart disease. Upon learning the cause, my sisters and I went to get checked out to see if were at risk. I (the cheese-loving salt-obsessed one) was quite surprised to find that my bloodwork came back totally normal. My two sisters were unfortunately not as lucky. My younger sister Charlotte's (jerk of a) doctor even went so far as to tell her that she had the highest cholesterol he had ever seen in an 18-year-old.

My sisters immediately made complete changes to their lifestyles. Like, COMPLETE changes. The two of them now eat healthier than anyone I have ever met in my entire life. I'm talking raw vegetables, wheatgrass, quinoa, fresh veg juices, you freaking name it. And they work out like fiends, too.

I'm so happy to say that the two of them have BOTH brought their cholesterol to a normal level by these incredible changes they've made.

Now Charlotte wants to spread the love. She's on a mission to share her story and to inspire others in similar situations -- and she's starting with Fitness Magazine's Face of Fitness competition. If she wins, she will have the incredible opportunity to appear in the magazine and share her story with others. Because she's surrounded by such loving people, she's already well on her way to becoming a finalist for this competition, but I want so badly to make sure she gets there. After reading a bunch of other entrants' stories, it's clear that Charlotte is the biggest inspiration of them all. I want nothing more than to see her achieve this dream of hers.

If you guys feel compelled to do so, please please please vote for Charlotte! We can vote once a day until November 11th, when the finalists will be secured. She's currently in the top spot to becoming a finalist, and I'd love to keep her there! If she becomes a finalist, I am so certain that she will win this. Either way, I'm incredibly proud of my baby sister. I just wish her the chance to inspire others the way she inspires me every day.

If you'd like to help, please vote for her here!

Thank you so much! You all rule!


365 days of feet: going strong, i think

It's been a month and a half since I started my 365 Days of Feet project and, I must say, I am quite pleased with myself! That is, aside from all the drawbacks I'm about to mention. It's definitely a challenge to be creative with this every day, and a lot of times I feel like I'm taking a photo just to "get it over with" for the day. And of course my photos are all saved on three different memory cards, three different computers, two external hard drives, and some on all of these places at once... so in that sense, this project is definitely showing me my need for organization. Well, I mean, I've known of this need for about 12 years, but it's helping to prompt me to DO SOMETHING about it. Some days I don't even get a chance to take a photo until its 8pm and dark out, but when I look back at all the photos I've taken so far -- especially when I see them all together in one place -- I get really psyched on this project.

More often than not, our feet are what connect us to this earth. They take us where we want to go, or keep us right where we want to be. I think it's so cool that, come September, I'll be able to look back at all of the different places my feet had been in one year -- even though these photos only show one tiny moment of each day!

I also recently started another personal project. I'm editing a year-in-the-life video that's comprised of random video footage that I've collected over the past year -- footage from my camera, my computer, and even my iPhone. (I'm starting to realize that I love looking back at life, a year at a time. Ha!) Since I'll be including September and October in this video, I thought it would be cool to sample a little piece of the 365 Days of Feet project in the video. It looks awesome so far. I'm nowhere near done with this video, but I'm really excited about how it's turning out. I'm using a pretty emotional, fall-sounding song that I've been loving for the past year, and it seems to be working really well. I'm hoping to have this video done by New Year's... also known as my QUARTER CENTURY birthday. Big thangs, y'all. You KNOW I will be posting the video to this here blog as soon as it's done, so please look forward to it!

One last thing: To all of you who update your blog more than once a week: HOW DO YOU DO IT? I can't find the time. I can't. Maybe I can. But I give you mad props. Any advice is welcome.

Until next time, my dears!


round 3

A few weekends ago I went home to Long Island to go to Blue Point Brewery with a bunch of my friends -- a tradition that we've done every fall for the past three years. It started with just three of us, but this year we had such a big crew that we actually rented a van.. and a driver. It was a beautiful day out and we spent the entire time outside, laughing, chatting, and playing games, sipping on the most delicious craft beer in existence. I freaking love that place.

I spent the evening with my family, chilling, baking, braiding hair, and carving pumpkins. I tried to carve the Instagram logo into mine (I mean, why not). I totally would have shown it to you guys, but it didn't come out quite as I had planned. It actually looked horrible. My family is the bomb, though, and it was so good to get to hang out with them for a night. T'was another lovely weekend on Long Island. Wouldn't have traded it fer anything.