Friday, July 31, 2015

Empties | August 2015

Empties - July 2015

July empties are here! This is a quick one --  a mere eight products!

Alba Botanica Very Emollient Sunblock Lip Care 25 SPF
Bayberry Naturals Lavender Bar Soap
Jordan Samuel Skin HydrOasis Face and Eye Serum
Living Libations Everybody Loves the Sunshine with Zinc
Naisture Lovely Strawberry mask
??? Bright Up Nano Eye Mask
Osmia Organics Soap, ylang spring

R.L. Linden & Co. The Bee Charmer

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Guilty Pleasures Tag

The Budding Minimalist tagged me to do the Guilty Pleasures Tag, and here are the questions/categories:

1: TV Show you love, but should not confess to
2: Food - you eat what?! 
3: Music I love and others just cringe at
4: My guilty online habit
5: I love to wear___, but I shouldn't
6: Movie you should not love so much
7: Funny habit people comment on
8: Makeup look that you love but that is so wrong

I tag the following:
Hello Cathy
Merdy Mench
Minimalist Sparrow
Minimalist Mera


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Empties | June 2105

Where did the month go? Below are all of my empties (bath & beauty) for the month. I purchased everything, or I received them as samples with a purchase. For reference, I have normal, mature skin, and I use products and brands that are natural and cruelty-free.

Gemstone Organic Gold Créme
Gemstone Organic Moonstone Créme
Goddess Gardens Organics Sunny Face Natural Sunscreen SPF 30
JBS Farms Soaps Shower Steamers, Black Amber & Lavender
JBS Farms Soaps Toilet Bombs
Jordan Samuel Skin Dream Oil Face and Body Oil
Jordan Samuel Skin HydrOasis Face and Eye Serum
Jordan Samuel Skin Water You Waiting For?
Josie Maran Bear Naked Wipes
LaVanilla The Healthy Sunscreen SPF 40 Face Cream
Life-Flo Organic Pure Rosehip Seed Oil
Naisture 15-minute mask pack, Brightening Arbutin
SKIN anti-aging grape seed facial mask
Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm (sample)
Pratima Love Oil
Una Biologicals Pink Grapefruit Body Butter
YŰLI Skincare Metamorphic Elixir (deluxe sample)

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Clothing Redux - Update (June 2015)

Remember my grand plans of returning in early June with a newly-organized closet and a capsule wardrobe? Well, vacation and having fun took precedence, but I wanted to share a few thoughts and some of the clothing that may not make the cut.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Empties - May 2015

I used a few full-sized products, and I used a few samples. Most of the products were cruelty-free, natural, and/or non-toxic. Not all, sadly. 

Irked by the amount of bottles and tubes around the house, I did some consolidation and mixology. 

Alaffia Authentic African Black Soap, Unscented (16 oz)
Clarins UV Plus HP Broad Spectrum Protection SPF40 (deluxe sample)
Eminence Organic Skin Care Blueberry Soy Exfoliating Cleanser
Good Soap by Alaffia, Fresh Mint
innisfree it's real manuka honey mask
Josie Maran Argan Cleansing Oil (deluxe sample)
Josie Maran Argan Black Oil Mascara
Ole Henriksen Pure Truth Vitamin C Youth Activating Oil (sample)
Tarte Maracuja Oil (sample)
The All Natural Face Body Butter, Peppermint

Celtic Complexion Vida de Fleur Liquid Moisturizer
February 2015 Empties:

Mongo Kiss Lip Balm, Unflavored
Pumpkin & Poppy Lipstick, Rita
Pumpkin & Poppy Lipstick, Wilding

I purchased all items mentioned here, or I received them as samples with a purchase. No items were provided to me for consideration.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Travel Light - Portland, OR

Earlier this month, John and I took a six-day trip to Portland, OR. It is very easy for me to travel light for weekend and long-weekend trip, but I challenged myself to travel as light as possible.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: Clothing Redux (Part I)

Recently, someone commented on my video on working The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up on my clothing in November 2014. The person wanted to know if I'd maintained my new stasis, or if I'd rebounded and amassed more clothing.

Interestingly enough, I have done a bit of shopping, and my cousin gifted me with a huge bag of clothing she'd purged from her closet. So... did I backslide?

Monday, May 4, 2015

Using What You Have - Multiple Uses

No matter if you are becoming a minimalist, just de-cluttering a bit, or attempting to get your spending and/or shopping under control, I am willing to bet that you will unearth multiples of the following:

  • food (pantry items)
  • paper products (kitchen and bath)
  • bath & beauty products
I am willing to wager because I was guilty of this in the past.

If you're hesitant to donate your excess, here are some ideas for using up bath & beauty products.

  1. Soap can double as shampoo and as detergent for hand-laundering bras, tights, etc.
  2. Shampoo can double as shaving cream and as detergent for hand-laundering bras, tights, etc.
  3. Conditioner can double as shaving cream and as cleaning agent for your sink and shower (in-between deep cleans, of course)
  4. Body lotion can double as a leave in conditioner
What are you double duty ideas?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Quick Tip - Use What You Have - Expired Products

During a recent purge, I discovered that my beloved Josie Maran Argan Balm had expired in early December 2014! Even though I had been using without incident, I thought it wise to cease doing so. Given that more than 1/3 of the product remained, I felt a pang of guilt when faced with tossing it.

Quite often, we discover expired products in our home. It is sad because we are looking at waste: wasted money, wasted product, and wasted time (the time spent purchasing the product). Thankfully, some expired beauty products can enjoy a second life. For instance, I tested the expired balm as both furniture polish and shoe polish.

Is there an expired product for which you found a second and/or alternative use?

Empties | April 2015

I can't contain my excitement! There aren't many, but it's time for April empties!  

April 2015 empties:
bareMinerals Frame & Define Brow Styler, Universal Light - I'd buy this again, but I'm on the hunt for an eye shadow palette that includes a brown that I can use for lining and for brows.

DeVita Solar Protective Moisturizer SPF 30 - This natural sunscreen is a potential repurchase. Unless you have normal or oilier skin, this isn't a good stand-alone moisturizer. This blends well, and it doesn't leave me with kabuki face.

Gold Bond Ultimate Skin Therapy Cream Healing with Aloe - This isn't a clean product, but it was a good handbag sized product that I stole from my mother. I can't say that I won't steal another; I'll do what's necessary to protect my lobster claws.

Jordan Samuel Skin Water You Waiting For? Face and Body Mist - Don't be fooled by the punny name. This is a great skin soother, and it's a skin care staple. I use it as a toner to prep my skin for my serum step. I've also used this to add some glow to powder foundation.

Tatcha INDIGO soothing silk body butter (sample) - Lovely stuff, but as it's preserved with phenoxyethanol, I will not purchase the full size.

Tatcha INDIGO soothing silk hand cream (sample) - Lovely stuff, but as it's preserved with phenoxyethanol, I will not purchase the full size.

Expired products:
Eminence Organic Hibiscus Calendula Recovery Masque (Sun Care Starter Set) I ordered the set on in June 2014, and while Eminence claims a one year shelf life, this was the second product that seemed a bit off. This was hard, and there were stringy things throughout. As I don't sun myself, I don't see myself purchasing a full size of this product.

Josie Maran Argan Balm - The expiry date was 12/02/2014, so I misspoke in the video. I will repurchase this product once I use the various body butters and oils in my stash. This is a winter staple!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Simplifying & De-Cluttering - Getting Started

Start Small
I am fully invested in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, but if the idea of gathering ALL of your clothing and sorting it in one go is too daunting, start with your socks. 

Perfection Paralysis
Sometimes, it isn't feeling overwhelmed that stops us in our tracks, but perfectionism. Do not allow the desire for perfection to paralyze you and to keep you from starting the process. Seeking perfection is an exercise in frustration, and it immobilizes you. It keeps you from trying something new or from starting on a new path.

Crush Compromise
While you don't want to be a perfectionist, you don't want to abandon your ideals and desires completely.If you have a very specific idea of the type of bookshelf that you want to buy, wait for it. The books can remain boxed up for another month or two. Just don't let those boxes hang around forever.

Stop Storage
How many areas of your home serve as a storage unit? Attic? Garage? Basement? 
Do you know or need what is in those boxes? What binds you to the contents? If it's guilt or fear that you'll need it someday, forget it. I've been donating and de-cluttering for 20 years, and in that time, I've regretted purging ONE item. One.

Is your house a home, or is it a storage unit for you, your kids, or your friends? If so, give them the incentive to remove their possessions: a deadline to retrieve or an invoice. Assuming that it is wanted, saving grandma's vintage vanity until your child finds her/his first home is fine, but storing 15,000 albums for a child is another story.

Double Duty
Recently, I read Skin Cleanse, and it made me re-think my relatively streamlined skin care regime. Why not use extra virgin olive oil to remove my mascara? One product, two uses! Think about secondary and tertiary uses for products that you already own. Use an expired lip balm to soften your cuticles and to polish leather shoes and handbags.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up - Tiny Tweaks #1

What do you do when you have finished -- or nearly finished -- with tidying up?

You make tiny tweaks!

This past weekend, I discovered an expired face mask in my small bath and beauty product collection. This prompted a full-on investigation of the expiration situation of my bath and beauty products.

One small tweak: For sanitary reasons, set up a review schedule for the perishable items in your home. Review pantry and refrigerated items at least once a month. Review bath and beauty products on a quarterly basis.

If you have streamlined your possessions, this review should be rather quick and painless. Pitch anything that has expired. If an item seems "funky" in spite of its expiration date, pitch it!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

House Tour - 2nd floor

In January, John and I downsized from a three-bedroom, 1.5-bath townhouse in a county north of the city to a smaller place in the city. Our current place is a 986 sf (91.6024 sm) townhouse with two bedrooms and one bathroom. It was built in 1944, and is perfect for us!

We love city living, and we love simple living. Because we have so diligently streamlined our possessions, what you see is the second floor "as-is." I did not tidy or hide things prior to filming.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Empties | March 2015

It is time for this month's empties! Most of my items are natural and/or non-toxic, but there are always those few random items that are not. As I streamline my beauty routine, I expect to see less "toxic" products in the mix.

Complete List of Products (alpha order)
Aēsop Avail Lip Balm with Sunscreen SPF 30
Aura Cacia Natural Skin Care Oil Grapeseed
Celtic Complexion Calming Serum
Celtic Complexion Tinted Moisturizer SPF 31, Light 1
Dr. Dennis Gross alpha beta peel extra strength formula (sample)
Eminence Organic Skin Care Bright Skin Cleanser
Gemstone Organic Gold Créme   
JBS Farms Soaps shower steamer, Shalimar
Jordan Samuel Skin HydrOasis Face and Eye Serum
Life-Flo Organic Pure Rosehip Seed Oil
Prana Natural Defense SPF 25
Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil (sample)

Friday, March 27, 2015

Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up - Electronics (Komono)

I plunged into The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up as a way to really streamline my possessions before moving house. Since moving, I have done a bit of tidying up (aka de-cluttering) in the komono categories. I even broke the rules and tidied me mementos before finishing all of the komono because I knew it would be a quick win.

However, it has been far too long since I focused my attention on tidying, so I pushed myself to tackle my electronics today. Thankfully, I am not a big geek when it comes to electronics and gadgetry, and it was stored (except for my Kindle) in a small/medium paper shopping bag.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

My Style in 5 (Tag)

Hello Cathy tagged me to answer the questions in the My Style in 5 Tag.

1. Who are your style icons?
I love the vintage glamour of women such as Carole Lombard, Jean Harlow, and Dita von Teese. I also love goth and steampunk styles, and I would love to figure out how to infuse some of those elements into my wardrobe. Finally, I lovelovelove eclectic and wacky style: Auntie Mame (Rosalind Russel version), Edie Bouvier Beale, Debra Rapoport and the other inspirational women of Advanced Style

2. What is your best style advice or tip?
Make an effort. Dress well. This does not mean dressing like Coco Chanel or without élan. Don't go to the grocery store or to the office looking as if you are ready to pave your driveway. Take risks and march to your own band! 

3. What was your style like as a teen?
Until I turned 17, my style was Flashdance meets Duran Duran's Rio. Next I moved into a Cyndi Lauper Girls Just Want to Have Fun phase with a half-shaved head and a dose of thrift store finds. Later, I explored something I'll call punky flapper goth -- combat boots, fishnet stockings, vintage slips, band tees, long pearls, and a cigarette holder. My hair alternated between a mohawk with a Danzig forelock and a Lulu bob.

Danzig forelock
Image result for lulu bob
Lulu bob

4. What type of outfit do you wear the most?
I wear cardigans a good deal. Maybe too much. I like to mix simple basics with vintage pieces, and then I add zest with colorful tights and/or interesting shoes.

5.Who is your favourite designer?
To be honest, I really can't say. My fave Project Runway designers were: Kenley Collins' 1940s and 1950s dresses; Melissa Fleis' minimalist, monochromatic style; and Michelle Lesniak's winning collection.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Shopping Spree (Spring 2015) - Beauty Items

When I lived in the suburbs, I trolled the mall almost weekly, but now that I live in the city, I need to make an effort (i.e., drive further) to be a mall rat. My desire to reduce my mileage, gasoline consumption, and/or time wasted sitting in construction-induced traffic has had a great impact on my shopping habits. I shop less. 

I had unsubscribed from most retail email lists, which decreased my desire for retail therapy. I follow a few green beauty sites, but I buy only if I need to replenish a beauty staple and/or if the current promotion is of value for me. For example, cream shadows aren't my thing, thus I passed on the RMS Beauty St. Patrick's Day promotion. This shopping spree was replenishment items purchased during with promotions.

R.L. Linden & Co. // customer appreciation promotion -- $18.00
The Bee Charmer Refining Cacao Honey Cleanser + Mask

iHerb // introductory order -- $20.38
Devita, Solar Protective Moisturizer, SPF 30+
Sierra Bees, Organic Lip Balms, Pomegrante, Vanilla & Cocoa Butter, 3 Pack

Jordan Samuel Skin // flash sale -- $50.00 + $8.00 shipping
HydrOasis Face and Eye Serum
Water You Waiting For? Face and Body Mist (free w/ $50 purchase)
NB: Rather than buy product I do not need, I paid for shipping.

Whole Foods // unwanted beauty item trade-in promotion (25% off) -- $28.04
Zuzu Luxe Liquid Eyeliner, Raven
Andalou Naturals All-In-One Beauty Balm Sheer Tint with SPF 30
NB: This is a 3.6-mile walk (round-trip) from my home.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

More Quick De-Clutter Ideas

Last week, I was inspired to do a quick de-clutter, and I am always keeping my eyes open for quick-hit opportunities to simplify.

Two quick ways to simplify:

  1. Swap items with friends and/or co-workers of a similar mindset.
  2. Take advantage of retail trade-in and/or upgrade offers.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Quick Exercise - Letting Go

Recently, both the Minimalist Sparrow and Sharry Berry uploaded videos on the topic of 10 items that can be tossed quickly and easily. Sharry was inspired by Nora, and Nora was inspired by Courtney Carver.

Some of the categories included: abandoned craft items, old, scary cosmetics, excess dishes, mis-matched Tupperware, duplicate items, and clothing that do not wear.

Given that I have worked through the bulk of my my possessions courtesy of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I do not have much to address. However, when it comes to simplifying, I believe two things:

  1. That small bursts of simplifying and de-cluttering are ways to keep your home under control while working through your de-cluttering method of choice
  2. Clothing is a category that needs regular attention

After a mere 15 minutes of digging in my closet, I gathered more than 10 items that I am ready to consign and/or donate.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Empties | February 2015

It is that time of the month -- empties!

February 2015 Empties (alpha order)
Acure Organics Pure Mint + Echinacea Stem Cell Conditioner
Acure Organics Pure Mint + Echinacea Stem Cell Shampoo
All Natural Face Vegan Oil Makeup Remover
Burt’s Bees Lemon & Vitamin E Bath and Body Oil
Dr. Teal's Sleep Epsom Salt Lavender Soaking Solution
Earth Therapeutics, Natural Silk Complexion Mitt
Eminence Organic Skin Care Bright Skin Licorice Root Booster-Serum
Fresh Soy Conditioning Eye Makeup Remover
Fresh Soy Face Cleanser
Gold Bond Ultimate Skin Therapy Cream Healing with Aloe
Hurraw! Balm, Chai Spice
Josie Maran Argan Black Oil Mascara
LATHER modern apothecary moisturizer, lavender lime
Pratima Skincare Neem Rose Face Sunscreen SPF 30
R.L. Linden & Co. The Bee Charmer
Tatcha INDIGO soothing silk hand cream
Wet 'n' Wild MegaEyes Defining Marker, Dark Brown 870

Friday, February 27, 2015

More Life-Changing Magic

Since the move, I have focused more on creating a comfortable home than I have on tidying up (aka de-cluttering).

Given that I have been walking the de-clutter path for a number of years, my purge categories may well be smaller than the average bear's. Which makes for an interesting dilemma: I have a strong desire to re-visit several of the completed categories. At first, I dismissed this as an odd exercise in procrastination.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that while Marie Kondo's rules are excellent, the rules may need to be personalized and/or broken.

The main goal is to create a home and a life that feels right and simple. Thus, you may need to:

  • work in smaller sub-categories, rather than one large category
  • re-align sub-categories to make more sense to you
  • realize that you already did as much work in one category as you needed to do
  • realize that you did not fully work one category as you should have
Working jewellry as komono, rather than clothing

Make the rules work for you -- or break them!

Jump to a category that is easy and/or relatively completed

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Tidying Up | eSubsciptions (komono)

John and I have been living in our new house for a little over one month, but we have been living without furniture -- living room and dining room furniture. We spent several weeks considering the options, but our loveseat and dining room set arrive this week!

Between furniture shopping and attempting to sell the items from tidying up my knitting and crafting, my attention was shifted away from The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Also, the weekend weather was more Spring than Winter, and I do not like to waste such days indoors.

I needed something simple. I did not want Close Encounters of the Third Kind in my home.

I decided to KM (short of KonMari Method) my eSubscriptions:

  • email adverts
  • blog subscriptions
  • YouTube channel subscriptions

It was an easier tasks than sorting other categories, it was more time-consuming than I had anticipated. At least the clutter was not visible to anyone but me!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Tidying Up - Knitting Needles

After a weekend of purging knitting books, magazines, yarn, and other notions, I was dragging my feet over diving back in and purging my knitting needles. I forced myself to do it, and a two-hour session (maybe less) yielded great results.

Additionally, I decided to purge my yarn winder, yarn swift, and... my entire yarn stash!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Tidying Up - Knitting Items

I knew this was not going to be an easy task. Thankfully, I do not have the huge stash that many knitters do. Of course, that didn't stop me from discovering that I owned five tape measures for measuring gauge.

I devoted roughly six hours of my weekend to the task of sorting, organizing, and streamlining my knitting stash -- notions, buttons, yarn, books, patterns, etc. I managed to organize all of my knitting needles, but I still need to de-clutter a huge box of circular and straight knitting needles. Oh, did I mention that I own -- in addition to the bin of needles shown below -- two sets of interchangeable needles?



Needles to be sorted

The complete insanity captured on video!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Tidying Up - Craft Items & Stationery

John and I are settling into our new house and the changes moving has brought -- new routines, new commutes, etc. For the past two weeks, we focused on unpacking and space planning. We still need living room and dining room furniture, but with the President's Day sales looming, we decided to wait.

Moving kicked my arse, and my desire to pursue The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up wilted. I knew I needed to get back to it, so this week, I committed to a small category of komono: the craft items and stationery lurking in and around my desk.

The entire affair took less than an hour, and it yielded good results. I still have a small abundance of Sharpies and pens, but progress was made!


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Moving Update #1

It's been a little over a week since we officially moved into the new house, and we are slowly settling in and setting up. We are making our house a home, and this is a brief update.

Everything we own is at the house, but we need to buy living room and dining room furniture. We are evaluating what we need and how pieces will fit into the house for maximum flow.

While the moving is over, the purging is not! There is more Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up to be done.

After tackling my clothing, my books, and my papers, I tackled what the author calls komono (miscellany). Before the move, I sorted, donated, and sold CDs and DVDs. I also sorted through my bath & beauty products. In the final weeks of packing and moving, I abandoned tidying up. This week, I will start fresh: craft komono.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Moving House

John and I moved house this month. In spite of our lifestyle and efforts to reduce our possessions, the process was still difficult. For some, parting with possessions and/or moving is emotionally trying, but for me, these processes are physically difficult.

We had sold our dining room set and other items in anticipation of an aborted move last March.
We packed a three-bedroom townhouse ourselves.
We moved over the course of 2-3 days, using our cars and a 10' moving truck.
We needed three car trips and two van trips to move everything.