Musical interlude -- Dreamy Electronical Versions Of 80s Dance Songs

A small obsession of mine are slow, dark remixes of fun upbeat songs. I'm not sure how it started, but I began keeping a mental collection of covers that skew dreamy, electronic and dark. Here are my favourites:


Daughter -- Get Lucky

I think it all started from this song. When Daft Punk asked their fans to make covers out of their electronic dance piece Get Lucky, Daughter put her own unique spin on it, and gave us this mellow, minimalist version that puts a dark twist on the originally upbeat lyrics. I was mesmerised, and mildly obsessed how reinterpreting the song worked. 


The original by Animotion is a forgettable little 80s number. The version by Karen O (from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs) that was the intro of Flesh And Bone -- an amazing, but very dark series about ballet -- translated it into a moody and dark piece. I also think the video is pretty cool.

Wszystko Czego Dzis Chce

The original 80s version by Trojanowska is a fun, emancipated song where the girl laughs at the serious plans of the guy, saying she just wants to "fly / there and back / from your arms straight to heaven". Monika Brodka's dark synthwave version makes the same lyrics express a stifling mood with no hope for the future. The video of Monika in the communist-era bar with the pissed-off dancers is just perfect.

There and back
From your arms straight to heaven
I want to fly
There and back
From your arms straight to heaven, to heaven
I want to fly
There and back
From your arms straight to heaven, to heaven



Arca Machote

Arca took this little latino reggae number Quiero Una Chica by Latin Dreams and made this electronic dream out of it. The vocals have a longing quality to it that gives me goosebumps.

Aaj jaane ki zid na karo

This is the one case where I don't necessarily thing the new version is better, since the original is very sweet. But the version from Ay Dil Hai Mushkil is very danceable, plus it's got Aishwarya Rai in the video. "Tonight, don’t insist on leaving. Just keep on sitting close to me".


Crazy In Love

The original is run-on-the-mill young Beyonce, but the version she did for 50 shades is a whole mood:

Lorde -- Everybody Wants To Rule The World

So I think we can officially agree all the songs on here are remixes of 80s tracks. The original by Tears For Fears is no exception. Lorde's version is dark and powerful:

That's it. If there are any good ones I have missed, drop them in the comment section!

Hooded Eye Makeup -- Ideas And Inspirations

A long time back I wrote a bit about hooded eyes. Now I have some fresh ideas that I want to share:

A hooded eye is not just little space on the moveable lid. It means that the unmovable lid looks pillowy -- however this is often not very obvious, especially on younger people. The more clear sign of the hooded eye is that the crease is longer than average, it extends to the outer corner of the eyes. This makes applying regular eyeliner impossible -- if you draw it on with your eyes closed, it will look very strange when you open your eyes (and vice versa). (I'm not going to talk about east Asian and monolid eyes here, because this is a whole big topic I'm absolutely not qualified for.)

Before I delve into actual makeup, I want to say that I always find it a pity when people approach hooded eyes as something that needs to be fixed. I find this eye feature is very charming, it is a very specific look and has not been called "bedroom eyes" in vain. A lot, and I mean really a lot of gorgeous famous women have hooded eyes -- from actresses to supermodels to singers.

I found it a pity that Renee Zellweger got work done that took away this distinctive feature of hers. I mean she is a beautiful woman and looks great still, but she looks so, I dunno, rather generic Caucasian now. Not to mention that her original eye shape that she felt the need to fix is due to her Kven and Sami heritage, which is another conversation all together.

Ok, off my soapbox and back to makeup. 

Many hooded eye makeup tutorials will tell you to apply a dark, matte shade on the unmoveable eyelid to make it recede. This is the standard "corrective" makeup for the hooded eye:


Wayne Goss has an improved technique for this, which makes sure that the eyes don't look droopy and that the socket doesn't get emphasized:

One great tip with hooded eyes is to use an eyelash curler, it is a very easy way to open up the eye area. Some people like to use false lashes, but I feel it can easily look dated and often overpowers the eyes. (Samira is gorgeous, but here you see the lashes before you see her eyes. Compare this to her photo lower down):

However if you look up celebs with hooded eyes, most of them don't follow that advice at all. Most don't try to minimise their eye hood. In fact they actually wear the exact opposite of what is recommended -- light, shimmery shadow on the unmoveable lid: 



 It also looks really beautiful when they just ignore the brow bone and socket, and apply darker shadow on the moveable lid and on the lower lid:


But lets move on to eyeliner. Like I said, regular winged eyeliner is just not do able for most hooded eyes. However there are a couple of ways you can outwit that pesky crease:


Some eye shapes can wear a very low eyeliner tail, where the flick is so low that it avoids the crease:

Then there is the little cheat corner liner, just a simple little flick:



And then finally here is the bat wing liner from makeup artist Katie Hughes. It looks like regular liner from the front, but reveals a cute bat wing when you blink. I feel like this look can range from edgy to ornate, depending on the rest of the look, and it's never boring.

I really recommend checking out Katie Hughes' instagram for a lot of makeup looks for hooded eyes, ranging from very simple to advanced, and tutorials of several versions of the batwing eyeliner.  

There you go, obviously this list is neither exhaustive nor prescriptive, but I hope that you got some ideas and inspiration!
Photo credit: VenusianGlow

The Base Coat That Makes Nail Polish Last And Keeps My Nails Healthy -- Orly Bonder Review

I'm a practical person when it comes to manicures -- if it chips in two days, I can't be bothered. So I have been looking into all kind of base products and top coats, and wasn't that impressed. Most didn't seem to do make my manicure last longer. I also didn't want to use anything with formaldehyde -- while it strengthens the nails at first, with time it damages the nail and can make it separate from the nail bed.

After a lot of research I stumbled on the Orly Bonder Rubberized Formula -- a sticky base that is free from formaldehyde.

It's yellowish and a bit thick. When dry it's still tacky and rubbery, this makes it grip on to the nail polish so well. The Orly Bonder makes my manicures last around at least twice as long as along. And I'm not very gentle with my nails -- I do a lot of things with my hands, including cooking and washing the dishes by hand (and I'm unfortunately lazy about wearing gloves, mainly because I seem to be in between sizes). 
The Orly Bonder has another huge advantage. My nails are not very strong, and wearing nail polish for more than a week means my nail layers separate and peel off. This means I could paint my nails once every 4-8 weeks, that's how long it takes for the damage to grow out. Since I am using Orly Bonder Rubberised formula, my nails have been completely healthy. The base coat creates a barrier between my nail and the polish.

Minuses? The Orly Bonder does not completely keep my nails from getting stained by my red and orange nail polish. The Bonder itself leaves a light yellowish tint on the nails, which looks flattering on some nails and less so on others. The formula is a bit rubbery, which means it can be less than smooth to apply. Also the brush isn't the best.

The right way to apply it is to apply on dry and oil-free nails. Make sure that the outer edges of the nails are well covered, you can sweep a bit under the nail just to make sure.  Although the product is not that cheap, a little goes a very long way. The photo of the bottle in the post is a bit old, the new one is a bit sleeker.
Have you use the Orly Bonder? Or do you have other holy grail nail bases?

Photo credit: VenusianGlow

Should You Be Supplementing Vitamin D? My Personal Experience.

I'm writing this post because some of my family have been diagnosed with a vitamin D deficiency, with one family member having extremely low levels.

If you live in a country where you don't get much sun during the winter, you might be feeling sluggish and moody during the cold half of the year. And might be chalking it up to things like spending so much time indoors, the cold and the darkness. But actually a lot of people living in the higher latitudes are deficient in Vitamin D -- this paper suggests 41,6% of people in the US. And double that number of black people  -- research shows that the more melanin your skin has, the less it absorbs the ultraviolet radiation that is needed to synthesize vitamin D.

The most common symptom of Vit D deficiency is lethargy and a grey mood. But others are harder to catch, like pain in the bones, nausea, dizziness, headaches, skin issues and a sluggish immune system (vit D deficiency is linked with respiratory diseases). These symptoms that are so common that they often get chalked up to other issues. The only tell is that you feel better in the summer, when your vitamin D tank is full again. 

Fortunately it's really easy to check if your are deficient -- it's a simple blood test, in Germany it costs around 20€.  My doctor recommended I test my vitamin D levels twice: once in the spring and once in the autumn. My levels in the autumn were good, meaning that my skin could produce it without problems, however the levels in the spring were abysmal.

I have heard a lot of myths about Vitamin D and getting enough sun. Here are two:

  • Going without sunscreen in the summer won't help with your vitamin D levels in the winter. The body stores vitamin D for only two months. Also, sun-burnt skin doesn't produce vit D as well as healthy skin does, so don't skimp on the sunscreen.
  • If you are going out into the sun in the winter, it's might seem as if it's easy to get your Vit D. However many people have a hard time producing vit D, for reasons not really well known. I've heard theories that the low angle of the sun in the winter means that the "quality" of the light is not just the same as in the summer. Low levels of calcium in the bones may also be responsible.

In my case my doctor recommended I start supplementing vitamin D starting every September, and continue till the days get sunny in the spring. She recommended Vigantol tablet, and that is what I and my family have had really good results with. It's suitable for both adults and kids. I feel better physically and mentally than I used to in the winter. Of course I make sure I go out and get some sun as well, but in the winter months we get weeks where the clouds and the fog obscure the sun completely, or it's too cold to expose naked skin for more than a couple of minutes.

I hope this has been useful for someone. Have a great day, and a sunny winter.

Photo by Nicolas Solerieu on Unsplash

Your Weekly Deep-Clean For Your Pores -- 4 Steps Clean Out.

Today I'd like to share with you a four-step treatment that I have been doing since some years to keep my pores small and clear.
The pores around my nose and my forehead get clogged with sebaceous filaments aka sebum (which are mainly fat and dead skin cells). While sebaceous filaments are perfectly normal, over time they can widen the pores, giving you that strawberry look. Cleaning out your pores will not shrink them, but it will keep them from getting bigger.

This method has four steps and is best done when you have some time for yourself, as you have to take some time between the steps. I like to do this on weekends or quiet weekday evenings.

What You Need To Cleanse Your Pores

You need:
* An AHA or an enzyme product to exfoliate. If you are doing this in the winter, and committing to using sunscreen you can pick a product with alpha hydroxic acids. I use one I made myself. An enzyme product can be used all year, also on dry and sensitive skin. I like Orientana's papaya and ginseng scrub, or ___________
* A 2% BHA product to dissolve the sebum. I use Vianek's normalising cleansing gel. You can use Stridex strips, the Paula's Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant, Logona Aktiv Pickel-Stopp Bio, or diy a BHA toner.
* A clay mask to draw out the gunk from the pores. The Queen Julep mask is very popular for this, I use Kaolin clay.
* Oil to dissolve the remaining sebum. I use either sunflower, jojoba or grapeseed or my own mixes, but you can use any face oil that works for you.

How To Clean Out Your Pores In Four Steps

This is the basic enzyme/aha-bha-clay-oil method that I use. You can modify it to suit your skin. If your skin is dry and sensitive, work only on the areas with clogged pores. And try skipping the AHA.

0. Start with clean, product-free skin. Remove any dead skin cells on the surface with a cotton or microfibre face cloth, a soft brush, a konjac sponge or gauze or a silicone scrubby.

1. Apply the AHA or enzyme product and leave it on for 15-20 minutes. This will act as a mechanical peel and loosen dead skin cells from the surface.

2. Apply the BHA product on the areas with clogged pores. Leave on for 15-20 minutes. The BHA will penetrate the sebum in the pores and loosen it.

3. Apply the clay mask, keep it on for 10-15 minutes. Spritz it with water and don't allow it to dry out. This will draw the gunk out of the pores to the surface. Clean off the clay with a cloth.

4. Apply oil on your face and gently massage with your fingers for 2-5 minutes. At this point some people start feeling "grits", which is sebum and dead skin cells. Wash off the oil. You can do this with a washcloth dipped in warm water, or with micellar water or another cleanser.
Enjoy your clear skin! You can continue with your regular routine now. I like to just use a hydrolate, and light moisturiser if my skin feels dry.
I like to repeat this weekly, 

Photo credit: VenusianGlow

I Didn't Shave My Legs This Summer, Here Is What Happened (Nothing)

Hello everyone

So it all started with me re-thinking my body hair this quarantine. Well, honestly it kind of started with my now-tween, and her worries about her (pretty much invisible) leg hair that led me to ask myself questions about beauty, body-acceptance and the role of society in our beauty standards

Also, I realised that in quarantine I couldn't be bothered to shave my legs. I had so much going on, and when I looked down at my shins and asked myself if the hair really bothered me that much, the answer was "nah". So I decided to roll with that for a while and see what happens. 

Why I Am Testing Single Hair Products And Tracking Them In A Spreadsheet

Hello everyone,

I hope quarantine has not been treating you too badly. Here in Germany shops and schools have reopened, though with a lot of restrictions. I'm still working less hours as I normally do, and decided to use this to go back to the basics of caring for my hair. I want to understand how specific products and ingredients work with my hair. I normally use several products and techniques and often don't know why the work (or not). I also see a lot of magic combos online -- detailed routines and product lists that I then try to copy.

Now it's back to the basics -- I'll wash my hair any do just one thing. Only aloe vera gel. Or only a protein mask. Or only a vinegar rinse. I document the results in an excel table: I record volume, curl, definition, shine and softness. I also note how my hair looks on the second and third and fourth day. I also test and record techniques. For example air drying vs air drying most of the way with a hair dryer at the end vs using the hair dryer first and then letting my hair air dry.

The results have been very illuminating. I know now that anything with protein will give my hair a lot of curl, that aloe vera gives me hold and a nice texture and I can use tons of it without overdoing it. And yes, most of the products I tested are simple kitchen-shelf type of things because they just work so well for me. I have written a lot about these here.

I really recommend trying out a hair diary, whether a detailed excel sheet or a quick jot of what you did and the effect. Don't forget to include the weather, especially if it's raining, as that can influence frizz levels!


Photo credit: VenusianGlow

DIY Rice Water Protein Hair Rinse For Smoothness And Curl Definition

Rice water is one of my very best hair care tips. The proteins my waves more pronounced. It keeps my hair fresh, because the starch absorbs oil. The rice rinse also calms frizz and makes my hair smoother to the touch, and much easier to detangle. It minimises breakage through rubbing because the hair cuticles get smoother, so it's perfect for high-porosity hair.

How to make the rice water hair rinse

Here are a couple of methods that bring slightly different effects. I suggest playing around!

I Tried A Sea Sponge Natural Tampon -- My Experience And Review

Hello everyone, I recently go the chance to try sea sponge tampons from Tom&Pat and I was really curious. I am all for natural, low-waste periods, and while I am a big fan of my period cup I realised that they may not work for everyone. The sea-sponge is a natural alternative to a tampons, there are low-waste since on can last around 6 months. They are a renewable resource, and have been used in ancient times -- and here I was, thinking that tampons are a modern invention. They are also a good alternative if you want to avoid the pesticides, bleach and halogenic organic compounds that are often found in conventional (non-organic) tampons and pads.

The sponges that I got are roughly the size of a plum, which makes them suitable for anyone with  medium flow. They got me through 8 hours of bleeding (I removed them after that time as I would a tampon, to avoid TSS). Tom&Pat offer them in three sizes, depending on how your flow is.

So, did they work? Yes! I didn't leak at all, and the sponge contained everything. And it was super super comfortable.

What Everyone With Greying Hair Should Know About Sunlight -- Aka How I Fried My Hair Last Summer

This was taken in June -- the beginning of summer -- but you can already see the dryness and coarseness in spite of loving conditioning.

Hey everyone, now that summer is coming I have to write about this. I made a huge mistake last summer which really damaged my hair, and I hope that this post can help some of you from repeating my mistake.

To preface this -- I have quite a bit of grey hair. I started greying when I was in my early twenties, a few whites here and there. Now there are many more, though not yet enough for a proper salt-and-pepper look (I tried, and it did not look good). If you have any greys you might know that they don't just have a different colour, they have a whole different texture. You might have noticed your first grey because they grew straight up like an antenna (I did). They are coarser and stubborn. And they are very susceptible to UV damage.

I did not know this.

Weekend reads 10-20-2020

Hello everyone, hope that quarantine is treating you right! Here are a couple of lovely links to sweeten your weekend:
  • This stork nest webcam is so adorable. My favourite part is when the dad(?) returns to the nest at dusk and they kind of greet each other and chat before settling down to sleep.
  • I  am doing the Science Of Well-Being online course from the Yale University and can really, really recommend it. It goes beyond the basics and delves into really interesting research (did you know that our minds are really bad at predicting what will and won't make us happy?) and is very pragmatic.
  • Älois Guinut asks thought-provoking questions about fashion and consumerism post-Covid. We all hoped that the quarantine would save the environment, but it looks like production and consumption is going to soar as soon as quarantine is over.
  • Kim's Convenience is a series that I have been binge-watching. It's about a Korean family that owns a small convenience store in Toronto. It has a comforting humour and deftly plays with east-asian stereotypes without falling pray to them. My favourite part are the weird repeat customers in the stores and the very dorky Shannon.
  • The Hemingway Editor is not only an amazing spelling and grammar checker, it will streamline your writing style and help you keep your sentences readable.
  • Chilled Cow is fully of low-fi beats for the best background music. This track is my current favourite.
  • And now I give you the best fashion and makeup channel on youtube: Aly Art. I recommend starting with her body type videos. Dipping into this system of understanding face and body types has really done wonders for me in terms of understanding why certain looks don't work for me even thought they should because I'm a "pear" or whatever. Aly throws in tiny pearls of wisdom in her videos that have been game-changers for me -- for example I followed her suggestions for my body type (SN) and did my eyeliner soft and chunky and then lightly smudged my lipstick in the corners, and bam! I can't believe what a huge difference this made.
  • @brownhistory is the most interesting account of instagram. It documents unseen and forgotten moments in the history of brown communities, with both heartbreaking and heartwarming and sometimes quite humorous stories and pictures.
  • @mazale has the most swoonworthy home ever.


A Quick Way To Get Rid Of Cherry Angiomas (Red Moles) At Home

Hello everyone

Here is a tip I have been sitting on for a long time, no idea why I didn't share it yet! It's my favourite kind: quick, easy and so effective.
Cherry angiomas are small, red mole-like skin growths that often appear on the chest area and sometimes on the face. Often they turn up when you turn 30. They are harmless and usually pretty unnoticeable. I had a couple and they didn't bother me, but when I heard about this way to get rid of them I got curious had to try it out.

Here is how to do it: you get a needle or a pin (pins are better because the plastic head doesn't get hot any you can hold it). You heat up the pin on a candle flame and then lightly touch the cherry angioma with the tip. The cherry angioma just pops! 

This method of removing cherry angiomas doesn't leave scars and the cherry angiomas haven't come back (it's been a few years).

So there you go! If your cherry angiomas are something you're not so fond off, give this a try! If you want to keep them, that's find too. Just one thing -- don't try this on spider veins, regular moles or anything else, it won't work, and you might get a scar.