Thursday, January 17, 2019

Lipstick a Day Project

Yesterday morning, I went to see my orthodontist, and she removed the rest of the buttons from my teeth. These buttons were glued onto each of my teeth around 2 years ago to help my Invisalign aligners shift my teeth more effectively. My orthodontist removed the buttons from my back teeth last October, and she removed the rest yesterday. During this time, I rarely wore lipstick, because the product tended to get trapped under my aligners, making a bit of a mess. Now that I'm officially finished with my Invisalign treatment, look how happy I am to be wearing lipstick again!

Since my teeth are now button-free, I'm excited to be re-starting the lipstick a day project! I recorded this series a few years ago when I still had an inflated lipstick collection, and it took me a looong time to get through all my products. This time, I only have around 25 lipsticks. I've come such a long way with downsizing my collection--it feels great to have less. I'm re-starting this series with an old standby, which I've been using on-and-off in the past few months to add a bit of colour to my lips. This is the Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Monte-Carlo, a very sheer lipstick in a pretty rose shade with a bit of sparkle. It was fun recording a clip for this product today, and I'm sharing a few screenshots from my video in this blog post. I'll be putting several clips together in each video, and the first video in this series should be posted in a week or so.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

October 2018 to January 2019 Empties

The theme for this installment of empties is minis!! I finished so many samples, trial sizes, and hotel products--mainly because I brought a lot of these with me to the silent meditation course. Note that due to the length of time it takes to put together these blog posts, I'll only include notes on selected products.

Hair care: I finished a few full-size products including The Body Shop Ginger Scalp Care Shampoo and the Cake Delectable Dry Shampoo and Body Powder in the Lemon scent. I love both these products and wouldn't hesitate to repurchase them. I won't be stocking up just yet as per my 2019 no-buy rules, because I'm working on a huge bottle of Paul Mitchell shampoo and I have a few backups of the Cake dry shampoo in my collection.

Bath & shower: The majority of the body washes and shower gels in my empties videos are used up by yours truly. For this set of empties, I finished a whopping 10 deluxe samples or hotel sizes, 6 of which were the Le Labo Rose 31 shower gels. I still love the Rose 31 scent.

Bath & shower (continued): While I tend to gravitate more towards body washes and shower gels, hubby prefers solid bar soaps. Together, we finished 7 minis.

Body moisturizer: I finished 3 hand cream minis, along with one hand cream foil packet. In addition, I finished 3 body moisturizer foil packets.

Body moisturizer (continued): The Body Shop Gel-Lotion is a lightweight formulation that I find reasonably moisturizing. I love using this product after a shower or bath because it absorbs so quickly and smells so good. I enjoyed both the satsuma and strawberry scents. I also finished one full-size body butter in the Vineyard Peach scent. This product is more thick and heavy, so I use this to moisturize my hands and feet before going to bed.

Facial skincare: I brought the Daiso cleansing cloths to the silent meditation course, and I was surprised how moist they still were (I opened the package ages ago). I also finished up 7 miscellaneous foil packets of serums and face creams, as well as a peel off mask.

Facial skincare (continued): So much facial skincare in this set of empties! I used up a sample of the Hydro Boost from H2O+, two full-size products from The Ordinary (the Argireline 10% is one of my staple items as per my 2019 no-buy rules, and I also really enjoy the Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%), the Tatcha Gold Camellia Beauty Oil (I didn't think this was worth the high price point), and a Pelle Beauty lip balm (I enjoyed this).

Makeup: Both the Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer (natural) and Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint (dark) were too light for me in terms of coverage, so I won't be repurchasing either product. I also finished my last mini Estee Lauder Even Skin Tone Illuminator, a Beautyblender (love these), and a sample of the Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara (love this).

Dental care: These are my dental care staples, and I'll continue to repurchase both the Eco-Dent DailyCare Toothpowder and the Life Brand Unflavoured Dental Flossers.

Miscellaneous: All the products in the Miscellaneous category are scent-related: a body mist that I've had in my collection for ages, a deluxe mini perfume, 5 mini perfume vials, and essential oils in the lavender and orange. I enjoyed both essential oils and will continue to repurchase these. Once I'm done all the perfumes in my collection, I won't be buying any more, as I found I am starting to develop some sensitivities to strong scents. Below is a closer look at the 5 perfume vials I used up, and that's a wrap on 3.5 months of empties!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Sugar Addiction

You don't have to know me all that well to know that I have a huge sugar addiction.

When I was little, my dad used to buy me two chocolate bars a day, and I would happily gobble them up. Mars, Snickers, Twix, Coffee Crisp, Crunchie, M&Ms, Smarties, Rolo, Kit Kat, Oh Henry, Mr. Big, Caramilk, Aero, Crispy Crunch, Wunderbar, Maltesers, 3 Musketeers, Bounty, Eat-More, Mirage, Skor, even Big Turk. You name it, I'll eat it. This past Christmas, hubby and I decided to only exchange perishable stocking stuffers as gifts, but I went absolutely BONKERS and bought us MOUNDS of sweet treats. Do you see what I did there? If you did, you're probably a sugar addict too.

Once the frenzy of the holidays had come and gone, I thought about the volume of junk food I brought into the home and questioned the reasonableness of my decision. I probably shouldn't have bought so much. I can still see my friend's face when I told her it only took me two days to eat a whole tin of Irresistables finger cookies (that's the black tin pictured below). And when I say me, I mean me. Hubby still has an unopened tin as we received two from my in-laws.

Hubby and I are slowly making our way through the treats--and we're definitely enjoying them--but once they're finished, I'm going to practice more restraint. I'm toying with trying to go at least a month with no processed junk food, although I'll still use and cook/bake with sugar, honey, and maple syrup. While monthly challenges aren't in my 2019 goals, I'm pretty sure I'll do the eat-at-home challenge at least once or twice (I'm thinking March and November), and I'm thinking the no processed junk food challenge will make an appearance at some point.

Monday, January 14, 2019


Something strange happened this past weekend.
I procrastinated.
Knowingly and willingly.

I used to be a hardcore procrastinator, but at some point, I changed. Someone asked me around a year ago if I could do a video on how I was able to stop procrastinating. I thought about it but couldn't come up with any helpful tips. All I knew was that I needed to get things done ASAP, because any other course of action caused me to feel a lot of anxiety. It didn't feel good to procrastinate.

Now that I have more time, I've been trying to live more in the present moment. I want to do the things I want to do when I want to do them, and I'm trying not to feel stressed about the future. The final deadline for my work project is tomorrow, but I've never missed a deadline, and I trusted myself to meet this one. So I did what I wanted when I wanted on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday--essentially leaving the bulk of the work for today. Amazingly, it felt good.

That experience got me thinking about how I typically procrastinate:

1) Doing something I've been "meaning to do for ages." Suddenly, I want to organize all my makeup or film a decluttering video or do swatches of all my nail polishes or clean out my closet.

2) Coming up with an idea for something out of the blue. My personality is such that, when I think of something, I must do it or look into it immediately. This is great because I don't tend to procrastinate on my shiny new ideas; however, it's not great when I get one of my "brilliant ideas" right before a more pressing deadline, which is what usually happens.

3) Browsing online for things to buy. This could include physical items (e.g., makeup, clothing, handbags, home goods) or experiences (e.g., shows, restaurants, travel).

4) Consuming media that serves no purpose.

The last two types of procrastination are the worst for me. Besides serving no purpose, they also make me feel like crap. However, I feel more than okay about the first two types of procrastination--in fact, I welcome them. They make me feel inspired and efficient and happy. I categorize these as productive procrastination, which fuels me and gets my energy up.

With this realization, I decided it would be a good idea after all to categorize everything I do these days:

PRODUCTIVE: activities that have some sort of tangible output or outcome
LEISURE: activities I truly enjoy doing or that inspire me
OTHER: activities I indulge in that either aren't good for me or don't inspire me

As you can see by the above image, there are overlaps between PRODUCTIVE and LEISURE activities. Sometimes I read a book for pure enjoyment (e.g., the Harry Potter or Hunger Games series), but sometimes I read a book for both enjoyment and learning purposes (e.g., 10% Happier).

Likewise, there are overlaps between LEISURE and OTHER activities; for example, I played this colouring game for ages before I eventually got sick of it. I enjoyed it because it was relaxing, but I felt like it could be bad for my eyes and that it was a bit of a waste of time.

Fortunately, I spend very little time in the OTHER category these days. I don't get the urge to indulge in these activities very often, and when I do slip up, I can usually recognize that it's happening and interrupt myself. What I'm trying to do is gradually shift all my time into the PRODUCTIVE and LEISURE categories, and I think I'm nearly there. If I had to ballpark it, I'd say I spend around 90-95% of my time in the two leftmost circles. Interestingly, the percentage is very close to the amount of time last Wednesday that I spent doing hyggelig things.

Oh, and that project I was working on? I'm happy to report I finished hours ago! And it didn't take much time after all.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

What I Bought This Week #2

This past week was a lot of fun. I watched a few films, went to a couple talks, and met up with bunch of friends. In addition to my food and groceries expenses (shown below), only one of the films had an associated charge (Finding Hygge, $12), whereas the others were free (When the Curtain Rises and Survival Family). If you enjoy Japanese films, there will be one more free screening next Saturday at the Hot Docs cinema. The event details are here, but you don't need to sign up or print tickets--you can just show up. While I wasn't planning to share entertainment expenses in this series, I will provide some details where appropriate. With that being said, here is what I bought in the second week of January.

Note: All expenses will be expressed as the total amount spent--hubby and I split our expenses on groceries and restaurants equally, so my portion will usually be half the amount shown, unless I am out on my own with friends.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Park Distillery

Last year at around this time, hubby and I were getting ready to go on our annual winter trip. Instead of travelling to a hot and sunny destination, we decided to spend a week in Alberta and had an amazing time! One of the highlights (among many) was our visit to Park Distillery, which was recommended to us by one of my YouTube viewers. Hubby and I visited the Banff distillery one afternoon, sipped on cocktails, took a tour, did a tasting flight, and decided to buy a variety of small bottles to enjoy at home. While we haven't dipped into the spirits very much since coming home, we met up with friends last night and sampled a few together (along with some tasty whisky, courtesy of our friends). I'd forgotten how much I enjoy the Park Distillery spirits, particularly the maple rye, which tastes like you're sipping on maple syrup with a nice rye kick. If it sounds super sweet and decadent, I can assure you, it is. The espresso vodka and bird's eye chili vodka are rather unique and delicious, if you're into infused spirits. Finally, can we talk about how pretty the labels are? They're even lovelier in person.

Friday, January 11, 2019

5 Things I Wanted But Didn't Buy #2

This is a follow-up to my Temptation post. I didn't intend this to be a series at the outset, but I've been enjoying talking about not shopping and also received good feedback on my first video, so here I am sharing five more things I wanted but didn't buy.

1) Beautyblender set
This was a Black Friday deal that I stumbled across, and I wanted this set for the value aspect. I think there was a pricing error, because I'm fairly certain the set was around $48 when I originally saw the deal; however, when I went back to take the screen shot, the price was higher at $55.98. It was still a great deal for four Beautyblenders (and four mini Beautyblender solid cleansers), but then I thought back to my existing stash of Beautyblenders, and I also envisioned myself counting my Beautyblenders at next year's makeup inventory. The thought of adding to my already ample stash made me feel uneasy, so I'm very happy I decided to forgo the deal.

2) Two sets to take advantage of a Sephora promotion ($25 off a $75 purchase)
When I look back at how I was feeling when I almost purchased these two sets, I realized I didn't really want these items in particular. What I wanted was to take advantage of the Sephora promotion. I scoured the Sephora website to find items that I wanted that would total as close to $75 as possible, and I settled on a Tatcha set for $30 and a Kopari set for $50. When I took a pause to consider these purchases, I realized I didn't need or even want any of these items, so I closed the browser and went on with my day.

3) iPhone XR
If you've been following my journey, you'll know that I've had this phone on my radar since the Apple Keynote. I was fulling intending to buy this phone when I got back from the silent meditation course. But something happened when I was lost in my own thoughts for 10 days. I couldn't seem to justify buying a new phone, even though my current iPhone 6S Plus is a little busted. When I got home, I got another sign that I didn't need a new phone. Hubby had opted in to test a new phone and had received one for free, so he loaned me his Samsung phone for photos and videos. While part of me still wanted the iPhone XR, it felt right to use what I had, so I resisted the urge.

4) Waffle maker
"Do I really want to make it easier for myself to eat waffles?" Nuff said.

5) Flight to Portugal
This was the most recent temptation that crossed my path, and it was a difficult one to resist. Before I quit my full-time job, I would obsessively plan our vacations--sometimes I knew exactly where we would go over a year in advance. For example, since last summer, I've had Portugal on our shortlist of travel destinations for fall of 2019. This is a great way to score flight deals because you can wait for a seat sale; however, booking months in advance means you might change your mind on where you want to go when vacation time rolls around. Since quitting my job, I haven't experienced the travel bug for any significant length of time, and I wanted to spend my gap year being more flexible and spontaneous. I didn't want to lock us into a travel destination, so it took me by surprise when I was so tempted by this seat sale. Thankfully, hubby and I are still on the same page with not wanting to spend a whole bunch of money on a trip right now, so we decided to let this deal expire.

It might be interesting to tally up how much money I saved by not buying these items. Let's just see, shall we?
1) Beauty Blender set: $63.26
2) Sephora sets: $62.15
3) iPhone XR: $1,466.74
4) Waffle maker (assuming I'd buy only the less expensive one): $28.24
5) Flight to Portugal (round-trip flight for one person on the dates I was looking at): $540
Total amount saved: $2,160.39

Note: all items above are in Canadian dollars and include applicable taxes. I've been clumsy lately so I likely would have purchased AppleCare+ for my new iPhone.

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