Jill Of Some Trades

And Master Of At Least One


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Project Empty: Buy or Cry Updates

As I mentioned in my previous Project Empty articles
https://jillschnei.wordpress.com/2019/04/22/project-empty-buy-or-cry-2/, I am trying to use up or declutter a lot of beauty products this year (and next). How many times have you bought the same perfect pink nude lipstick twenty times in one year? Seriously, how many of the same shades of anything do we really need? I have become more aware of this, and spent my money at the Sephora sale almost exclusively on skincare because I am now completely out of my full-sized products and have been using trial sizes. Here are some more products that I have used up in 2019. The opinions are not meant to offend anyone AKA if you love something I hate, that’s totally ok. We are all different.

Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum (Buy) – see the article linked above for my thoughts. Just a reminder, do not stock up on this product as it will degrade and oxidize over time. Buy only as you need it.

Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream x 2 (Buy) – Click to read my thoughts
https://jillschnei.wordpress.com/2018/07/05/project-empty-buy-or-cry/

Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil (Buy/Cry) – I got this in a “Littles” set from Sephora which is a great way to try Drunk Elephant products. I think if I mixed this in with my moisturizer, I would have liked this product more. People rave about it, and I am willing to give it one more chance. I just didn’t think it was the best thing ever.

The Body Shop Shea Body Butter (Buy) – This is a good body moisturizer. It is rich and creamy and I will buy it again because it is also cruelty-free. They always go on sale so wait for one.

Gold Bond Rough and Bumpy Skin Daily Therapy Cream x 2 (Cry) – Click here to read my thoughts on this product.
https://jillschnei.wordpress.com/2018/07/05/project-empty-buy-or-cry/ . Not bad, but not great.

417 Foot Nourishing Cream (Cry) – This was thin and not creamy at all. It did nothing to soften my tootsies. I recommend Ahava, this was just a cheaper alternative.

Germaine De Capuccini Synergyage Clinical Intense Renewal Exfoliating Mask (Buy) – This product works well for acne prone skin. My skin is no longer acne prone so I don’t need it. I am also not sure if it is cruelty-free or not, but it is very good.

Avene Tolérance Extrême Masque (Buy/Cry) – Avene is an excellent line of products especially if you have sensitive or acne prone skin. I only had a sample size of this masque so I am not sure if it really works or not. It is also not a cruelty-free brand. If that doesn’t matter to you, then I highly recommend this line.

Ciaté London Fierce Flicks Precision Tip Liquid Liner (Cry) – This was without a doubt, the very worst eyeliner that I have ever used. It is highly rated but I found that it was too thick and smudged like crazy on me. There are way better eyeliners out there that are at least $10 cheaper and won’t make you look like a raccoon.

Physician’s Formula Eye Booster Lash 2-In-1 Boosting Eyeliner and Serum in Blackest Black(Buy) – This is hands down, my favourite eyeliner and you can get it on sale at Shoppers Drug Mart or Wal-Mart. It lasts all day and it really does help your lashes (it is not a miracle worker though). If you are looking for a true black, get Blackest Black. Black tends to look a little gray.

Lancôme Juicy Crayon’ Lip Gloss Pencil (Buy) – I believe the colour was plum, but whatever it was, it was the perfect colour and a great texture that had lasting power It was a really nice formula, but the brand is not cruelty-free so I will not repurchase this product.

L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Butterfly Mascara in Black (Cry) – I bought this at Winners (Canada’s TJ Maxx) last year before realizing that I should just go cruelty-free. It is a very dry formula and I bought the waterproof version so it made it even worse. I used it twice and threw it out.

Lancôme Monsieur Big Mascara (Cry) – My sister gave me this mascara in 2018. It is not horrible, but it flaked a lot on me. I hate that in a mascara plus the product is not cruelty-free.

Smashbox Be Legendary Lipstick in Legendary (Buy) – I got this as a gift in a holiday lipstick set and it is a mini. It is such a beautiful formula, it lasts. The only issue is that the colour didn’t work for me so I had to declutter it. Smashbox makes great lip products and they are very under-rated.

Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm in Curviest Caramel (Buy/Cry) – This is a great product. It has a smooth, hydrating formula and the colours are beautiful. It is not long lasting, but it doesn’t fade after an hour either. It is only a cry because it isn’t cruelty-free.

Klara Liquid Lipstick in 27 (Buy/Cry) – This was another Winners’ purchase. It is a very nice formula for a liquid lipstick. It was fairly comfortable and not gloppy. The only reason it is a cry is because the colour was terrible – it looked like I ate a powdered sugar doughnut and wasn’t lady-like enough to use a napkin after. It was a light pink metallic formula and I think the colour would only suit a 19-year old.

Marc Jacobs Beauty Genius Gel Super-Charged Foundation (Cry) – This was another Winners purchase. In fairness, I used this once and threw it out – it had gone bad and smelled terrible. Lesson learned: Winners has great makeup available but be careful with foundation. I believe that this product is discontinued.

Smashbox Studio Skin 15 Hour Hydrating Foundation in 1.15 (Buy) – This is a really nice foundation that is long-lasting with a nice, natural finish. I wouldn’t exactly call it hydrating, but it is a very good cruelty-free product. It doesn’t cake or crease on me. Their shade selection is excellent.

Becca Velvet Blurring Primer Perfecting Base (Cry) – This literally did nothing for me. I didn’t find that it kept my foundation on any better than not using a primer. I have yet to find a primer that does anything for me. This was a point perk from Sephora so at least I didn’t pay for it.

Maison Margiela Replica Beach Walk (Buy/Cry) – This smelled amazing! It really did smell like a walk on the beach. The cry is because the brand is not cruelty-free. This was a sample. I’m finishing off all of my old perfume, then will look for cruelty-free alternatives.


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Project Empty: Buy or Cry

Like many people, I am trying to be more responsible about my self-care habits. That means different things to different people. To me, it means, buying less of everything. The last few years, I bought far too much makeup. I’m reasonably good about skincare because I know that some have ingredients that deteriorate so I don’t stock up on it – I’d rather not throw away my money. Makeup became an issue and this is the year that I am limiting what I purchase to only items that I need like foundation and buying less of what I don’t (eye shadow palettes and lipsticks). I am also trying to use up products that are not cruelty free. In the YouTube world, this is called a low buy. In my world, it’s called project empty. I’m not a YouTuber, nor am I an Influencer, so I realize that I don’t need to have a million of everything and I should only buy replacement items or something truly unique. I’ve spent a lot less money this year (I’ll compare 2018 to 2019 at the end of the year) and I’m also getting rid of items that do not suit my colouring. Hanging on to them does not “spark joy” in the words of the great Marie Kondo.

I’ve had a lot of empties over the last little while and need to play catch up. Similar to my other Buy or Cry articles, I’ll let you know if I would re-purchase the item (buy) or not (cry). I’m supposed to tell you that these are just my views and you can think what you want. All true – but I’m right about everything!!!!!!!!!!!! Actually, I have really sensitive skin so you aren’t going to see a lot of variety in skin care. I have a fair complexion; even if I like a formula, certain colours may not work for me. You are also going to get an honest opinion about the product whether it is cruelty-free or not. Just my little warning….Now here we go:

Lancôme Hypnose Drama Mascara (Cry) – I received this mascara as a gift. I know that people swear by this brand’s mascara, but I always find that it flakes on me so I would not re-purchase it. It is also not a cruelty-free brand if that is important to you.

Estée Lauder Double Wear Extreme Zero Smudge All Effects Mascara (Cry) – This must have been a point perk or gift with purchase based on the small size. I checked the website, and I don’t think that they make this exact product any more. The wand was tiny and perfect for your bottom lashes. It was a great formula too with no flaking. Unfortunately, Estée Lauder is not cruelty-free so I couldn’t purchase the mascara, even if it was available.

Becca Mini Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Highlighter in Moonstone (Both) – This is a great formula from a cruelty-free brand. The only reason that it is a cry is because I prefer the Vanilla Quartz shade which is a little lighter. If you have a lot of highlighters or it just takes you a long time to go through one, I strongly suggest the mini-size. In Canadian dollars, the mini is $27 and the regular size is $46, making the larger size the better deal, but unless you put it on with a spatula, this will last you at least 9 months and will ensure that you actually use up your product so that it will be fresh.

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in paaarty (Cry) – This was a 2017 Sephora Birthday Gift that I finally used up. The colour was nice – it was a neutral pink. The formula was nice, easy to apply, pigmented enough to not need to build it up, but not so pigmented that I felt like a clown. The major draw back was the lasting power. I found that it disappeared on me in about 3-4 hours. It is cruelty-free if you still want to try it.

Marc Jacobs Le Marc Liquid Lip Crayon in Night Mauves (Buy) – I got this in a Sephora lip box in December 2017. Those boxes are one of the reasons that I have far too many lipsticks so I decided to stop buying them. I believe that this was a full size. It is a unique formula – it really feels like you are wearing nothing on your lips and has the lasting power of a liquid lipstick. It does not make your lips feel dry like a traditional liquid lipstick would. The colour was perfect. If I ever get down to a reasonable amount of lipsticks, I would 100% repurchase this cruelty-free product.

No 7 Moisture Drench Lipstick in Berry Blush (Both) – No 7 lipsticks are not available in Canada. I first tried them when I went to Europe and fell in love with their formula and perfect colours. I would always stock pile them when I went to Europe or the USA. The reason that this is getting de-cluttered was simply because it smelled off. I bought it in October 2016. I also cannot find information on whether the brand is cruelty-free or not, so I’m going to take a break from it. If that is not a concern of yours and you want a great drug store brand, this is it.

Bésame Cosmetics 1930 Noir Red Mini Lipstick (Both) – Bésame is one of my favourite brands. This came in a mini-lipstick set that I received as a gift. The formula of the lipstick is perfection. Their customer service and packaging is also perfection. The only reason that this is a cry at all is because the colour is way too dark for me. If you have a deeper complexion or just like very dark lipstick, then this will work for you. I highly recommend this cruelty-free brand.

Empty!

Joico Daily Care Leave-In Detangler (Buy but….) – This product did exactly what it promised – it detangled my very tangled hair. It did not weigh my tresses down, nor did it make them feel greasy. It is perfect except….it is not cruelty free. I believe that the issue is that the brand sells in China. I’ve read that China may eliminate the need for animal testing in the very near future. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Tom Ford Soleil Blanc Eau De Parfum 30ml plus sample (Both) – I loved this perfume. It reminded me of old school sun tan lotion. It is beautiful and unique. I got compliments every time I wore it. Alas, it is not cruelty-free. Hopefully, one day I will be able to buy this beautiful fragrance again. Until next time Tom….

Empties

Bath and Body Works 24 Hour Moisture Cream in In the Sun (Both) – This is a great body cream. The scent is the perfect affordable complement to Tom Ford’s Soleil Blanc. It has that same amazing sun tan lotion scent that just screams summer. The issue? It’s not cruelty-free. I have a ton of Bath and Body Works products to use up. They always do those buy 3 get 3 free (really who needs that much body lotion?) and I have some that are gifts. I won’t need body lotion for a very long time.

Ahava Dermud Intensive Foot Cream (Buy) – This brand is cruelty free and vegan. This foot cream saved me when I had my cast off after surgery. My foot was as dry as a lizard and my skin was flaking off – it was gross. Within a week of using this, my skin was back to normal and it has really helped with heel cracking too. It isn’t cheap, but I have not been able to find anything that works better on me.

All Empty – All Cruelty-Free

Drunk Elephant C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream (Cry) – This was expensive and it just did not work for me. I actually felt like it made my under eye area even drier.

Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum (Buy) – All Drunk Elephant products are pricey (this one is $100). This one happens to be worth it and lasts for about 3 months. Do not stock up on Vitamin C serums, even if it is on sale or Sephora is doing one of their Rouge/VIB events. The product will degrade in time and they have a very short shelf life.

Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum (Cry) – I got this is “The Littles” gift set. It was worth the $110 to try more Drunk Elephant products and see what I liked and didn’t like. The little container held a lot of product – this lasted me for almost two months. It was long enough to see that this just did not work for me.

Drunk Elephant Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser (Buy) – This is a great face cleanser and a little goes a long way. This one tube has lasted me for almost 6 months which makes it cheaper over time than other drug store brands. It is $40 but you can save by buying it at the Sephora sale – it will keep if you buy one or a spare but don’t go crazy and buy ten. It leaves your face satisfyingly clean without drying out your skin.

Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream (Buy) – I wrote about this product in my last Buy or Cry. Here is the link to learn more
https://jillschnei.wordpress.com/2018/07/05/project-empty-buy-or-cry/

Are you on a low buy or doing a project use up yourself? Tell me what your favourite products are.


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Castaway: The Final Chapter

On October 3, 2018, I was given the clearance by my doctor to take my first steps. I had already made a physio appointment for the next day to help get me moving as soon as possible. The doctor also warned me, in a slightly condescending way, that if I didn’t do what I was told, I could potentially lose mobility and flexibility in my ankle. His exact words, “We babied your ankle for six weeks. Now you have to be aggressive or you will not recover properly. You need to be out of the walking cast in one week.” Determined to show him that he misjudged me as a potential princess, I asked if I could take my first steps, then and there. He nodded and I got up, almost squealed in pain, but I wasn’t going to show any sort of emotion and then tried to walk while using my wheelchair as a crutch. I underestimated how weak I would be, how painful it was to try to walk on my now inflexible ankle and how poor my balance would be. I took my note for physio, plunked myself down in my wheelchair, and my cousin, kindly took me home. All I could think about was how was I going to take off the walking cast in a week. How was I supposed to walk more than 5 steps?

There wasn’t a lot that I could do that first day, but I committed to standing, at the very least, as often as I could, using a walker to help me maintain my balance. I only took 5 steps that day. Better than nothing but not the strides that I was hoping for either. I eagerly waited for physio the next day wondering what the difference between passive and active exercise would be. I showed up at Totem Life Science and was told to wait in my wheelchair for Katie, my physiotherapist. I wasn’t afraid of the pain that I knew would come, but I was afraid of losing my balance a little and re-injuring myself. Katie is a young, positive, skilled physiotherapist. She got me to stand, then walk around the examining table. She looked at my ankle, and showed me the passive exercises that I was supposed to do. They were the ones that I could basically do lying down. I had to rotate my ankle every hour, ten times in each direction. Point and flex the foot the same amount of times, then use an exercise band and do the same thing. I was also supposed to ice it, pretty much hourly. I walked a little more, but felt very thrown off by the cast. I started to understand why I needed to be out of it so quickly – it made me feel unbalanced and it was also hurting my hips. She told me to bring my walker, if I had one, and my running shoes the next day.

I did all of the passive exercises, every hour on the hour like I was told. I iced my ankle, and I went back to physio the next day. Katie told me when I got there, that I would be walking out the door that very day and that I was going to do physio in my running shoe. My ankle was sore, and I had my doubts, but Katie said – trust your ankle – it’s solid, remember that it will hold. So I did. I walked back and forth (with the walker) and did everything that she told me to do and being out of the cast made it so much easier. I asked what else I could do at home, aside from the passive exercises, and she said just walk as much as possible and ice my ankle as much as possible. She said try to walk without the cast when you can. I committed to doing everything that I was told to do and more. I used my mother’s walker which was way too short, when I got home and walked the corridors of the the condo. I knew that there were about 180 steps end to end, and I did the walk three times that afternoon. It hurt, more than I can tell you, but I did it. Then, I did it again, two more times that day, happy to see some progress. Over the weekend, I did it 6 laps, 4 times a day. I pushed the walker away and used I forced myself to walk to it. I did all of the passive exercises all weekend long.

When I went back to physio, Katie could see that I made a big effort and that my walking improved and I stopped using the air walker in 6 days. She was able to spend the time doing ultrasound therapy and massage versus watching me do the assigned exercises. She would add new exercises to improve my balance and my dorsiflexion (ability to move your foot upward so that it is closer to the shin which is crucial for walking). I added single leg squats, regular squats, sideways walking and balancing on my leg to my passive exercise routine. If you don’t work on dorsiflexion, you will limp, have issues walking up and down the stairs and have the potential to injure yourself. Speaking of which, within two weeks, Katie had me try the stairs. My mantra became up with the good and down with the bad. This essentially meant leading with my good foot up the stairs, and the bad foot down the stairs. Once I could figure out the stairs, I did them as often and possible and walked outside so that I could get used to different terrain. I walked as much as I possibly could.

In addition to twice weekly physio sessions, I also saw Stacy, a chiropractor, who was a great support in my recovery. She is one of the owners of Totem Life Science and referred me to Katie. She was also the person who explained to me that the intense, burning pain that I was having was nerve pain. I went to Stacy once a week for additional massage and ultrasound therapy. It really helped to speed things along. By November 5, I was able to go back to work and by December 20, Katie and Stacy both told me that I was well enough to no longer require physio. Here are some tips to remember if you are recovering from ankle surgery and starting to walk:

Everyone is different and will respond differently to treatment and physio. Not to sound cheesy, but recovery is really a marathon and not a sprint and you can’t compare where you are to someone else. Worry about your progress and only your progress.

Do your exercises at home religiously. Don’t shortchange yourself. If you do them at home, your physiotherapist can focus on the “hands-on” therapy that they are so skilled at rather than babysit you as you do the exercises you should be doing on your own. They are trained professionals and will know if you aren’t doing everything that you are supposed to at home. They notice your range of motion and gait. By ignoring the exercise, you hurt only yourself and you will have a longer recovery.

It will hurt – there is no way around that, but the ability to walk is worth it. The pain gets better in time.

You will notice huge changes the first week, and like me, you will get so excited and then….. After the first two weeks, the hard work really begins when you have to really focus on your dorsiflexion. It is the very last thing to come back, and you need to keep pushing through this part of your treatment and your progress will slow.

Lose your pride. I walked with a walker inside and outside. I used canes, had my air cast on to help keep my distance from people. One thing that I didn’t care about was how people saw me. I wanted to walk and I wanted my mobility back as quickly as possible and if it meant that people would see me in a walker, then that was fine. I also knew that I had the good fortune of knowing that my situation was temporary. Others do not have that luxury.

People watch and be sensitive – I always give up my seat on the subway to people who are older, pregnant and have mobility issues. When I was on public transit with a cane and cast, I was offered a seat maybe 60% of the time. People can be rude, but that doesn’t mean that you should be. Use your injury to be a more thoughtful rider.

When I went to my final orthopedic appointment on November 21. The doctor kept saying look at the nice veins! Your ankle looks really good! Look at the flexibility, it’s really coming. He told me that he was impressed with my progress. This was the very doctor who a few weeks early looked at me so skeptically. I wanted to say, you doubter! I showed you! Instead, I just said the truth – I had a great physiotherapist and chiropractor and I listened to them and did everything that they told me to do. My ankle gets a little stiff and sore here and there, but overall, I couldn’t be more grateful for the ability to get myself around pretty much like I used to. They say it takes a full year for the swelling to completely go away, so I’m trying to be patient.