When I came home from London for Christmas break last year, I realized just how many makeup and beauty products I had. When I moved to London, I could only take what I could fit into a suitcase or two, so I chose the cream of the crop and fit all of my makeup into a medium-sized toiletries bag. When I came home for the first time four months after living with just the products I had originally brought with me, I decided I seriously needed to minimize my at-home stash.
Enter Project Pan.
Project Pan is a project created online by fellow beauty enthusiasts who found themselves with too much makeup. Traditionally with the project you choose ten (or however many you want to do) beauty items you own to use up in their entirety before you buy any other beauty products. I’ve tweaked this a bit to where I am not choosing a specific number of products (I essentially want to use up ALL of my makeup) and once I do finish something, I grab its replacement out of the drawer in my room instead of buying something new.
I have loved beauty and makeup products since I was little. Since discovering Youtube and beauty vloggers a few years ago, my collection had grown embarrassingly large. I don’t wear a lot of makeup – there was no way I could finish those products in this lifetime. After clearing out my collection, I decided to do something I think I had only done a handful of times since I started wearing makeup: I was going to finish a product before I bought a new one. In this consumer driven world (and thanks largely to the Youtube beauty community), we are encouraged to have way more products than we could ever need. The hype surrounding a new lipstick or mascara makes you want to try it yourself and add it to your own collection.
Now I challenge myself to completely use up a product before moving on to the next one. I have three backup bronzers patiently waiting their turn for when I finish up the one I’m currently using and I shouldn’t need to buy another lipstick for at least five years. I want to focus on minimizing most things in my life and this one I’ve been doing fairly well with. My goal to produce less waste will be helped through this challenge and my resolution to use less plastic will be helped as well as I will have time to thoroughly research the best glass-packaged products to replace the plastic housed ones I finish.
I still love makeup and watch beauty vloggers on the regular, but I can appreciate it differently now. I no longer feel the need to run to the nearest Sephora and buy that lipstick or eyeshadow just because someone’s using it in a tutorial that I like. It’s also strangely satisfying to use a product up in its entirety!
I am now more than halfway through my ‘No Buy January’ endeavour. ‘No Buy January’ is a pretty common thing across the web – it’s a challenge not to buy anything unnecessary for the entire month. A lot of people (myself included) use it to reset after the expensive months leading up to Christmas. It also helps you get some perspective to what you are spending your money on and why. Here are a few things I’ve learned over the past twenty days:
I can be very good when it comes to buying things, but not so much when it comes to spending money on “experiences”: While I walked away from books, stayed away from clothing stores, and worked hard to use up my stores of toiletries instead of purchasing new items when they ran out, I still spent a fair bit of money on going to restaurants, cafes, and drinks with friends. I have definitely stayed in on more Fridays than not. I don’t make much at my part-time job and am trying to be choosy with what I do spend money on, but I could definitely do better. Of course, going out with friends and spending money on experiences is inherently better than spending money on things, but I would still like to save a bit more in that area. For example, if I know I’m going to a concert in Boston on a Saturday night, then I’ll stay in on Friday to balance out the spending.
Western culture revolves around shopping: During the weekends I am often at a loss at what to do that does not involve going to a store and buying something. So much of my adolescence was spent at the mall on weekends and during the summer that I am realizing that it’s a bit difficult not to pop out to the stores when I’m bored and need something to do. I love window shopping as much as the next person, but with this ‘No Buy January’ I also tried to refrain from participating in anything related to consumer culture. This is part of my goal to lead a more conscious lifestyle. Instead I am trying to blog, journal, read, and meet up with friends in restaurants or cafes.
Learning to not beat myself up over necessary purchases: Because I don’t make a lot of money at the moment, I’ve been finding this a bit difficult. I pride myself over being able to say ‘no’ to books and clothing but then punish myself for having to spend money on things I actually need. For example, I ran out of my all-time favorite moisturizer. I stood in the aisle of Whole Foods for probably 5 minutes debating whether to repurchase. This was silly because I NEEDED the moisturizer (it is currently the middle of winter in New England and I have perpetually dry skin so yes, moisturizer is a NEED). I also spent a lot of money on a pair of prescription sunglasses, another thing I needed since a late-entry New Years resolution of mine is to wear my glasses more. I need sunglasses to drive so I really did need to buy them. It didn’t stop me from feeling insanely guilty and like I’d failed the whole point of ‘No Buy January’, but in hindsight I am realizing that there’s no way to avoid purchases like these. I can avoid buying books because I have so many currently unread on my shelf and I can avoid clothes shopping because my closet is currently full with items that I love, but I can’t avoid some purchases no matter how hard I try and that’s okay.
Overall I’m learning that less is definitely more: This whole process is actually teaching me a lot about myself. I don’t need things to define who I am. I am just as content (if not more so) sitting in a coffee shop with friends or a book than I am out shopping. I’m going to try and buy only what I absolutely need going forward. Sometimes I won’t need anything and sometimes I’ll need lots of things and that’s okay because every purchase I make will be a conscious one. I never want to clean out my closet or bathroom cabinet and throw away unworn shirts or unused products because I bought them in the moment without really thinking of their value.
I’m planning on continuing my ‘No Buy’ experiment into February. It’s the shortest month of the year so if you’re interested but don’t think you can do a whole 31 days then I recommend trying to give it a go next month. I also recommend downloading a money tracking app. At the start if the month I just searched for “money tracking” in the App Store and found Fudget, which is the most basic app on the planet, but it’s really helping me see exactly where my money is going and how small and unnecessary purchases can add up very quickly.
I recommend trying to instill a ‘No Buy’ even for a week to see how much stuff you can actually survive without. If you find yourself still wanting it at the end of the week/month/YEAR then by all means go for it!
Has anyone else ever done a ‘No Buy’ for a set period time? What did you like about it? What did you find the hardest? Let me know your thoughts!
Yesterday marked three months since I left my most favorite place in the world: London.
Over three months since I’ve lived in what was possibly London’s tiniest studio flat. Three months since I have been able to walk out my front door and explore one of the greatest cities in the world. Three months since I’ve been able to go to some of my favorite coffee shops (Ginger & White, Monmouth, even the Starbucks are better there) and spend hours reading or chatting for hours with my fellow coffee addict friends. Three months since I’ve been able to walk through Kensington Gardens for hours at a time. Three months since I’ve drank G&Ts in a cozy pub while sharing endless laughs with some of the best people I’ve ever met. Three months since I had to leave the best job I’ve ever had. Three months since I’ve been able to walk to the top of Primrose Hill and marvel at how lucky I was to be there. Three months since I had to leave a place that had become a home and a routine that had become my life.
People ask me what it is about London that I like so much and I find it difficult to answer them. From the first time I visited for six days in March 2014 I have just felt comfortable there. Returning back seven months later with my mother for my 21st birthday and it was like coming back to a place I had been many times before.
Of course there were some things that I missed terribly from home – my family, my best friends, not having to have my bed be in my kitchen, but I never missed the actual place. It’s a very strange feeling to be homesick for somewhere that isn’t technically your home. Through all of my visits and times spent studying there, I’ve lived in London for a combined total of 2.5 years, which is not a lot of time considering I’m 25 (more than most ever get, but still not enough for me). It breaks my heart that it is next to impossible for me to ever live there permanently and to legally be a resident.
I will be heading back for a week in May for graduation and I am counting down the days until I am back in my favorite city. I plan to travel back at least once a year for the rest of my life. I will go at random times, even in the dead of winter if it means that I am able to afford to do so annually.
I am so so grateful for the magical 2.5 years that I was able to call London home, even if it was temporary. I miss it everyday.
Well 2017 is finally over. Here’s hoping 2018 will be loads better. I usually don’t do New Year’s Resolutions but I figured this year I would give it a go. I’m trying to keep them realistic and doable so I thought I’d share.
Work on being vegan at home: I’m vegetarian and I rarely (if ever) drink cow’s milk. I do love cheese though. However, due to how bad animal agriculture is for the environment, I really want to work on lessening my impact. While I can have full control over the ingredients when I eat at home, going out to eat while vegan is pretty difficult. So I’m going to try my damndest to be vegan at home and vegetarian when I go out.
Workout 3x per week: This one I would really like to stick to and there is no reason I should not be able to. I notice a big difference in my fitness levels since I moved home to sedentary America. My parents have a tiny home gym and I’ve recently fallen in love with the elliptical, so working out is going to cost me literally nothing. My new trick to motivate me is to pick a TV series that I am ONLY allowed to watch while I work out. I’m currently working my way through The West Wing, a series I haven’t watched since high school. The episodes are a respectable 45 minutes each and they always leave me itching to watch the next one.
Have a monthly budget: This is something I really need to work on. I’m okay with limiting my purchases but I think setting a figure and seeing how much I spend on unnecessary things and saying “no” to going out and spending money will be a real eyeopener.
Travel back to London: This one is a confirmed thing! Hurry up May! Have decided that I will be adding this to my resolutions every year from now.
Buy majority of clothing second-hand: I want to lessen my environmental impact as much as possible. Plus I really like thrift shopping. It’s fun to never know what you are going to find or what deal you are going to get. I’ve recently discovered the Savers stores and now I can’t fathom spending more than $12 on any item of clothing.
Journal/write more: This is something I strive towards every year. I so want to be a journal person. I’ve also bought a book of 300 writing prompts to help me as I usually don’t write because I feel like I have nothing to write about.
Be asleep by 11PM: This one will be hard. It’s not so much about going to bed earlier, but becoming more of a morning person. I’m hoping a set bedtime will help.
Read every night: I love to read and I do read a lot, but I would like to start reading more in bed. I usually read for a bit but then turn on the TV and watch until midnight. Hopefully this one helps me stick to #7!
Blog 2x per week: I would really like to have this blog be a portfolio of my writing. Just purchased this domain name so hopefully I can get my money’s worth =]
Keep making #zerowaste switchups: I recently wrote about this and I would like to keep improving and lessening the amount of plastic waste that I produce.
Find a job that let’s me do some good: This will be probably my biggest resolution of 2018. I am determined not to work for a company unless it does some good for the world. I refuse to dedicate 40+ hours to something that I am not whole-heartedly passionate about. Interning at this summer really taught me that I am the most professionally fulfilled when I work on something related to environmentalism and that I can combine that with my skills in PR/communications. I currently have a part-time job at a bookstore that I am happy to keep until the right thing comes along.
The author writes: “almost a year and a half without a period, I find myself acutely aware of every complaint of cramps, every impassioned post about Diva Cups in a women’s-only Facebook group, and every pregnancy announcement — reminders of what it’s like to have a “normally functioning” female reproductive system”
This is an A+ article that talks about what it’s like to desperately want a period, something that most menstruating people could never fathom. For them a period is just something to deal with that they would rather not have to or perhaps a welcome monthly reminder that you are not about to become a parent. Of course, for some people a menstrual cycle is literal HELL – requiring them to take off work or stay home from school because the pain and the symptoms are so great.
Is it weird that I am still sort of envious?
Let’s start from the beginning: I first got my period at the “normal” age of 13 years old. However, that is about the last time anything was normal regarding it. From age 13 to age 21 I would go months without a period and when I did happen to get one it would be extremely light, last a maximum of three days, and not come with any other regular menstrual cycle symptoms. It never occurred to me that this was strange. I had always been told that periods can be irregular when first beginning and that it can take some time for your body to get used to this new process. However, no one ever told me that “irregularity” was only meant to last a year.
The November of my sophomore year of college I got my period. Fine. Great. But two weeks later I got it again. I remember thinking that this was weird so I looked it up online. I found out that two periods in one month is NOT normal and so I made a mental note to stop by health care services to ask some questions that week. At 5AM the next morning I woke up in a pool of my own blood. It felt like I had wet the bed. Sorry for the specifics but my shorts were completely soaked through. I knew something wasn’t right, but I also knew that it had something to do with my menstrual cycle and that no one had actually stabbed me in my sleep. I tried to go back to sleep and skipped my first class to go down to health services. The nurse practitioner told me to undress, put on a paper gown, and sit on the chair so she could examine me. I told her that I was bleeding so much that I was going to need to sit on a towel. I remember her saying that she needed to check to make sure I wasn’t internally bleeding!! There ended up being too much blood for her to properly examine me but as soon as I told her how irregular my menstrual cycle was she immediately said “I think you might have PCOS“.
Okay, I am the first to admit that I was starting to distance myself from Forever 21. Now that I am PAST the age of 21, I felt that the store was just too juvenile and “cheap” for someone my age. HOWEVER I have been visiting the store recently due to my internship and I am seriously impressed with some of their offerings this season.
Their new Contemporary collection has my name written ALL over it. A lot of the pieces look expensive, but rarely top more than $30. The collection is very on trend and I’ll have to stop myself from emptying my bank account on my next trip to Forever 21.
Happy first day of April! I don’t know about you all, but March seemed to just drag on this year. April is one of my favorite months because it means the release of H&M’s Conscious Collection! As an avid environmentalist, it’s usually really hard for me to find environmentally friendly pieces that 1. don’t break the bank and 2. are actually FASHIONABLE. Luckily H&M has got us covered, and this year’s collection is particularly chic.
Below are my picks from the new collection, launching the 16th of April!
You’d never know that it was meant to be springtime in Boston. We had snow this weekend and it’s yet to reach 50 degrees.
As much as I’m dying to incorporate some spring items into my wardrobe, it’s just not feasible quite yet. I’ve been reaching for striped shirts and throwing my faux fur gilet over top for both warmth and style. I got mine from Forever 21 at the start of winter, but Topshop still has a few good options left. And don’t worry about buying one in spring, as faux fur always comes back into trend once cold weather hits. (more…)
Have to say, this wasn’t a trend I saw myself getting on board with. For starters, I’m 5’9 and while I love being tall, I tend to try and stay away from shoes that are going to have me towering over my friends. Secondly, platforms always reminded me of bad 1970s disco films. That is, until I saw the ones from Stella McCartney. Pictured above, they just scream chic while still remaining eccentric and quirky, which means that they have my name written all over them. I saw a pair at Bloomingdales this past weekend and couldn’t help but squeal with delight. One thing I’m not all about though, is the $1,000+ price tag that they babies have – eeps! Luckily for me (and you!) I was able to snag a great pair of lookalikes from Dolce Vita for only $90.
Really comfortable (I did have to go down half a size though due to my feet slipping in the back), the flatforms add a certain chic-ness to any outfit. Skinny jeans and boyfriend jeans both look fantastic with them, and if you’re really ready to get on the 1970s bandwagon, a pair of flared jeans would be right on trend!