How to Restore Vintage Brass Fixtures

Have you ever found a vintage piece and hesitated to buy it because the brass or metal looks scratched, discolored, or tarnished? We all have! But don’t hesitate. Cleaning vintage metals is actually fairly easy, and totally worth it. In fact, you can save a lot of money by buying the more junky pieces and restoring them yourself at home.

I’ve seen some people just take a can of spray paint to pieces, and that’s fine if your metal is beyond repair but you still cant live without it, but most of the time that isn’t the case. Besides, you’ll never get a true shine like you would with real metal. Instead of reaching for the spray paint, reach for a rag and some polish and see what you reveal.

I got this set of 50s drawer pulls on Etsy for a really great price. At first glance they’re junk, but if you’ve ever restored metals you’d see the treasure underneath that tarnish and “scratches” immediately.

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What you need is a metal polish product, like Brasso, and an old rag or two. Oh and some gloves.

How to Restore Vintage Brass Drawer PullsCover the brass in metal polish and rub into the metal.

How to Restore Vintage Brass Drawer PullsThen use a soft cloth to buff and massage the metal, you’ll notice black and green residue coming off on your cloth. That’s the tarnish! Keep going.How to Restore Vintage Brass Drawer PullsKeep polishing until there is no more residue coming off on to your cloth and the metal is sparkling new. Reapply more product if needed. This can take awhile depending on how tarnished your pieces are, but be patient.

How to Restore Vintage Brass Drawer PullsOnce all the tarnish is removed, give it a nice little polish with a clean cloth to remove any remaining residue or product.

How to Restore Vintage Brass Drawer PullsTada!! Good as new. Now put down the paint and pick up the polish!

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6 Awesome Products for Senior Dogs

You may or may not know this, but I am obsessed with my dogs. Every day I do my best to make sure they’re getting everything they need and are enjoying their quality of life. They turn 15 years old this fall, and we’ve finally started noticing the effects of aging.

5 Awesome Senior Dog products via MelodramaPandie, my girl, started having problems walking. She was wobbly, her back legs were dragging, and eventually she couldn’t walk or go to the bathroom on her own. Our vet diagnosed her with Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD), which is a problem with the discs in the spine and somewhat common in older dogs. Since Pandie is 14, surgery was not an option at her age, so we opted for rest and medication.

At the same time as dealing with the IVDD diagnosis, we were also making frequent trips to the vet with our other 14 year old dog, Mango (Pandie’s twin brother). He was experiencing some out of character symptoms, like anxiety, insomnia, and and joint pain. After several blood tests and examinations, he was put on supplements and medication to help his symptoms and arthritis/hip/knee problems.

Luckily, both dogs are now doing great and enjoying life again. Pandie has regained most of the mobility in her legs and Mango is responding well to his new treatment plan, but this all lead me to discover a few great products that I have been using and feel would benefit any dogs dealing with the effects of age or mobility issues.


GingerLead Rear Harness
This was one of the first things I searched for after Pandie’s IVDD diagnosis. Because her rear legs were so weak, she couldn’t properly hold herself up long enough to go out for potty breaks. Gingerlead’s rear harness is the perfect solution, especially if you have a larger or heavier dog who can’t be easily carried around. Walking is very important for older dogs. Walks around the block can reduce the pain caused by arthritis and keep their muscles in shape to prevent atrophy. GingerLead harnesses provide support and balance so your dog can still enjoy walks, even with weak back legs. They’re also great for rehabilitation after hip and knee surgeries. The design is durable and comfortable and easy to use. Whenever Pandie is feeling a little back pain and getting weak in the legs, we pull out the GingerLead to give her a break.

WiggleLess back brace helps with dog spinal problemsWiggleLess Back Brace
One of the most important things about IVDD and other back injury recovery is to keep the dog from moving around too much so the spine can heal. Most vets will prescribe complete bed or cage rest, but with a dog who isn’t crate trained and generally wants to be active, this wasn’t as simple of a task as it sounds. That’s when I found WiggleLess back braces and decided to give it a try. I could definitely see the benefits during Pandie’s recovery period. She immediately walked a little stronger and straighter. Most importantly, it kept her from doing any unwanted twisting or movements, and kept her from trying to jump on and off furniture. She also seemed generally more comfortable with it on, and she rested better. That last one could be from the “hugging” effect it gives, much like a compression shirt, but I’ll take that added bonus. Just like with the rear harness, if I notice any back pain or weakness in her legs flaring up, I put on the back brace to avoid exacerbating the injury, and it helps.

Dr. Buzby’s ToeGrips
These are life changing! Keeping both of my dogs from slipping and sliding around my hardwood floors was a challenge. This is a problem a lot of older dogs face, and it’s very important to keep dogs with any mobility issues as stable as possible. It’s not always feasible to put down anti-slip rugs or to put traction booties on their paws. That’s why Dr. Buzby’s Toe Grips are genius. I’ll admit, I was a little skeptical at first, and I thought they would be hard to put on, but these are AMAZING. They’re nonslip grips that fit onto your dog’s toenails, so they can stay on all the time. This provides traction to keep them from slipping and sliding on hard surfaces, which can potentially cause or exacerbate injuries, and cause anxiety about walking in certain areas.

Thundershirt helps dog insomniaThunderShirt
The ThunderShirt is probably something you’ve heard of before. When my dogs experience any sort of anxiety they always respond well to being held tight or swaddled in a blanket. ThunderShirt gives the same effect. It’s a specially designed compression vest that applies gentle, constant pressure which helps alleviate stress and anxiety. We use it for vet visits, traveling, and for any other anxiety triggering issues, even pain. It has helped Mango a ton with his insomnia (just look at him), allowing him to feel less anxious at night. Its design is light weight and comfortable enough to wear for hours. Now that we have it, we can’t live without it.

VARIO Leash System by flexi
This is a leash system that has greatly improved our walks. Walking with regular leashes can be annoying when a dog wants to go at their own pace. I was always either dragging a dog while being dragged by another dog. These retractible leashes have solved this problem. No more dragging or pulling of anyone. But that’s not the best part! The VARIO system has accessories. My favorite is the LED lighting system. It can get a little hard for some senior dogs to see as well as they used to at night. This can cause some confusion and anxiety during walks. The LED light attachment acts as a flash light and helps guide the way for both you and your dog. There are other accessories worth checking out too, and everything is attached right onto the leash for ease and comfort.

Dasuquin Chews

Dasuquin is a joint supplement recommended to me by my vet. I noticed a difference in my dogs within a week. Joint problems and arthritis are very common ailments as dogs age, so supplements are important. These chews are perfect because they taste good and can be used as treats! Ive also noticed they’re more gentle on my dogs’ tummies than other joint health products.

I hope you might find these products as helpful as I have. As always, I have tried and tested everything that I mention here and only my honest opinions are given. If you have any questions about my experiences with what you see here, feel free to ask in the comments.

How to Clean Makeup Brushes feat. MUA Danielle Rutherford

I have a confession, you guys. I can be really lazy about cleaning my makeup brushes but I’m ready to stop being a nasty bitch and break the habit for the sake of my skin’s health and well-being! I turned to my buddy, NYC makeup artist Danielle Rutherford, to help me learn the best and easiest ways of easy brush bathing. Spoiler: The first two methods don’t even require special brush cleaner!

How to Clean Makeup Brushes

Danielle says,

Method One: Deep Clean with Baby Shampoo

  1. Buy yourself some baby shampoo, yes, baby shampoo! It’s super gentle and won’t harm your brushes.
  2. Dampen your brush with lukewarm water and dip it in a little bit of the shampoo.
  3. Swirl your brush around in the palm of your hand to loosen up the makeup and get all the hairs nice and clean. Rinse.
  4. Use a paper towel to pat off any excess water from the brush.
  5. Reshape the brush hairs with your fingers so when they dry, they will dry in the correct shape.
  6. Lay your brush on an angle. You want the brush hairs on a downward angle so water does not get into the base/shaft of the brush.
  7. Let dry and voila – clean brushes!

Method Two: Deep Clean and Condition with Dish Soap and Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Grab some dish soap (I suggest using a natural one) and EVOO!

  1. In a dish, mix 2 parts soap to 1 part oil
  2. Just like the first method, dampen your brush with lukewarm water and swirl it in your mixture.
  3. Swirl your brush around in the palm of your hand to loosen up the makeup and get all the hairs nice and clean. Rinse.
  4. Use a paper towel to pat off any excess water from the brush.
  5. Reshape the brush hairs with your fingers so when they dry, they will dry in the correct shape.
  6. Lay your brush on an angle. You want the brush hairs on a downward angle so water does not get into the base/shaft of the brush.
  7. Let dry and voila – clean brushes!

Method Three: Spot Clean with a Brush Cleanser

  1. Get yourself a paper towel and pour some of your brush cleanser onto it.
  2. Swirl your dirty brush around in the cleanser until it start to swirl and look clean.
  3. Most brush cleansers will dry very quickly, which is why many makeup artists use them between clients.

Cleaning Your beautyblender

  1. Get your beautyblender wet, just like you would before using it, but don’t squeeze all the water out.
  2. Swirl your beautyblender around in the cleanser and rinse. Repeat until clean.
  3. Note: I have found that over time my beautyblender will get stains depending on the products used, so it’s normal if it still looks a little dirty after cleaning.

Thanks, Danielle! Check her out on Youtube and Facebook for the latest beauty buzz.

Fun Thanksgiving Place Setting Ideas for Adults and Kids

I’m one of those people that believes presentation adds to the experience of food. Paper plates are a no-go and place settings are important, especially on holidays! Proper place settings don’t have to feel too formal, though. Here are some ideas that will add some fun to your Thanksgiving table.

Thanksgiving Place Setting Ideas

When setting the table we usually just lay the utensils out next to the plate and it’s go time. Mix it up by putting some ribbon around them. It’s like getting a present before the meal. No need to go out and get those little salt and pepper shakers for everyone. Nut shells work just as well and are totally adorable and clever. Fun Thanksgiving Place Settings

Remember being a kid and getting activities to do at the table? Adults can enjoy that while they patiently wait for their food, too! I mean who doesn’t love a good word search to keep your mind off of their empty stomach? Another fun thing to do is have your guests write down what they’re thankful for and the host can read them aloud at the end of dinner. These are both great ways of adding a little fun into your elegant place settings.

kids table colored pencils
Valley and Co. Lifestyle

Speaking of kids! Is there anything better than drawing at the table? Nope. It keeps the kids seated and interacting with each other. For your kids’ table, skip the crayons and get these amazing colored pencils that look like branches from World Market. Throw some kraft paper down as a placemat and give them free reign to draw whatever they want. It doesn’t just have to be for the kids. This could be used for the adults’ table too!

Christmas 2011 | Christmas Trees | Real vs. Fake | Decorations

We’re trying to do a little Christmas decorating amidst the other projects I have taking over the living room right now. But, we still managed to put up our tree that we got from the wonderful Lopez Ranch Tree Lot on La Brea and Melrose in LA. It looks fantastic! Smells great too. $60 with the stand and it’s huge and fluffy. We also picked up one of their handmade wreaths for the front door! I haven’t had a chance to take a good photo but I had to share this Instagram photo that I took.

Why do we choose real Christmas trees over faux?

– Trees are a renewable resource. Most Christmas tree farms plant 2 saplings in place of one cut tree. Faux trees eventually end up in landfills.

–  Christmas tree farms provide habitat for animals and give off oxygen that help clean our air.

-Supports local businesses. Most tree lots are run by local businesses or non-profit organizations. Both are worth supporting, especially around the holiday season.

-And of course I like the idea of a traditional Christmas. Real tree, putting it up, putting the lights on, decorating it, and sitting back to watch the glow and smell the scent of evergreen.

Some tips:

-Ask your lot to put your stand on for you or go to a lot that includes the stands.

-Also ask them if they offer disposal bags. That helps keep the mess at a minimum!

-Water your tree daily and invest in floral food. It’ll keep it fresh all season.

Some Christmas crafts I have coming up include making paper trees out of recycled magazines and snow covered pine cones using the ones that I collected from a recent trip to Big Bear Mountain!