Jill Of Some Trades

And Master Of At Least One


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Project Empty: Makeup Buy or Cry 2019 (Part 1)

This year, I made a concerted effort to buy less and use more of my makeup. It can be tough – you know the feeling, bored, lonely, buy a lipstick. Instant gratification even though you already have that perfect lipstick shade 20 times over. I spent just $197 at Sephora on makeup for myself, which is literally just 10% of what I had spent the year before. I did buy a few things at ULTA in the States when I went, more for novelty purposes. I also found a few things at Winners (Canada’s version of TJ Maxx) but I was determined to spend less and use more last year. Makeup does go bad (eventually) and there is no point in stocking up when I literally do just a few makeup reviews here and on my regularly scheduled site, DIVINE.

Just to give you an idea of what I bought or didn’t buy in 2019:

Lipstick/Glosses/Lip Crayons – I literally bought 2 – one was Bite Beauty and only $7.25 – it was practically free. I also bought a Jeffree Star Lip Velour in Calabasas – I needed to know if his formula was great or not. So far, the jury is out. I used up 9 products and decluttered 1. I still have an embarassing amount that I will one day reveal. Let’s just say, I don’t have an exact count, but it’s more than 50.

Foundations – I bought 3, used 1.5 and still have 1.5 left.

Blush – I bought the Becca Khloe x Malika face palette. It was pretty, sue me. I was a little embarassed to order a Kardashian anything. I did use up 3 blushes this year. It was a miracle! I still have 3 other blushes, not including the palette.

Concealers – I finished one and bought one. Not too bad. I realized that stocking up is stupid – again, I’m not a YouTube Creator who needs 35 of these to review. One is plenty and lasts about a year.

Highlighters – I bought 2 at Winner. I used up 2. Not including the Khloe x Malika palette, I have a total of 5 highlighters.

Face Powder – I used up one loose powder and had one more that I am using up. Even steven. I did not buy pressed powder this year, so I have 3 in total. One was free. Does that even count?

Mascara – I used 4 this year. YAY. I bought zero, received 3 as gifts and have at least another 3 more somewhere. I won’t be buying mascara again in 2020. I have enough to get me through the year.

Eyeliners, Eye Primers and Other Boring Things – I used one full eyeliner this year. I don’t think I bought any and have been using up what I have. There are currently about 8 eyeliners in my makeup collection. I’ll only buy to replace what I actually use. I hate pencils and have a few so if I don’t use them up in 2020, I’m going to toss them out. I used up 2 eye primers. I have 1.5 left. You only need one. They take forever to use up. I have one glitter glue, one brow powder and one mini-face primer.

Eyeshadow Palettes and Singles – I have an embarassing amount of these. I did buy a lot more this year than I intended, but two were free (Sephora Rouge gift card) and I received several as gifts. Does that make it better? I decluttered one (hey – I pay for this crap – I don’t have to do a massive clear out). I am going to be a lot more careful about buying any shadows this year and be more thoughtful in what I spend my money on.

Buy or Cry (Part 1 of 3):

Wet N Wild Flights of Fancy

Wet N Wild Flights of Fancy Flock Party (Cry): This was a mess. Yes, it was cheap. No question. The one matte shade had zero pigment. The brow bone highlight had zero pigment. The gold shimmer came off my lid in chunks even with a glitter glue. The best colour was the hot pink shimmer, and it had hard pan immediately. Once you scrape it, it actually performed well and looked nice as a crease shade. The rest was meh. I’m cheap so I tried to use it at least until I hit pan on one shade. I did, and then tossed this out. Wet N Wild is also questionable when it comes to being cruelty free, so I’m taking a pass on their products.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Mood Exposure (Buy): This was a mini. A mini is the perfect size for a powder product – you get to try something expensive and you can actually get through the product. It still took almost 9 months, but it’s gone. It was beautiful and I would repurchase this if I was in the market for a new blush, which I am not. I do recommend it though.

Benefit CORALista Coral Blush (Cry): This blush had it all. The colour was lovely. The finish was perfection. The lasting power….nil. That’s the only issue, plus Benefit is sold in China which means it is not cruelty-free. If it was the best blush ever, I still wouldn’t buy it, but at least I don’t like I am missing out on anything.

Too Faced Mattifying Loose Setting Powder (Buy): This is a great setting powder if you can get past the cloying scent of peach. It creates a smooth finish and I ended up loving this powder….once I got over the fragrance.

Hourglass Caution Extreme Lengths Mascara in Ultra Black (Buy/Cry): I really liked this mascara. It didn’t smudge or flake and was long lasting. My complaint was the shape of the brush – it was like a long cone. It made it difficult to get an even application. It was a mini and lasted three months. I would say for the price, skip it and run to the drugstore.

Marc Jacobs Le Marc Lip Creme in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (Try): This was a mini sized point perk from Sephora. It took FOREVER to use it up. The colour was nice, the formula was long-lasting without being drying and it was cute. I can’t think of one bad thing to say about it except for awhile, it was the only lipstick that Sephora was giving away as a point perk so I still have one more to get through.

Colour Pop Disney Designer Ultra Glossy Lips in Boo (Cry): I wanted to love this gloss. It’s name is Boo as in Bibbidi Bobbidi from CINDERELLA (my favourite fairy tale), but it was more of a boo hoo. The formula is thin, although the colour is pretty. There are just way better glosses out there. It lasted about an hour on my lips and then disappeared faster than you can say…Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo.

To be continued…because there is plenty more to share.


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Project Empty: Try or Cry (2018)

Yes, you read that correctly – I got a little busy at the end of the year when I was going to send my final thoughts on these products, so here are my 2018 empties. As always, I’m supposed to say that this is only my opinion. You are welcome to disagree (although, sadly, I am always right, at least that’s what I tell myself). It is a long one, so get cozy. Just a reminder, buy is a product that I recommend and cry is one that I do not.

It Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye Eye Cream Mini (Cry) – This didn’t do much for my under eye area AND it dried out before I could get too far into the product and it was a mini.

Drunk Elephant TLC Framboos Glycolic Night Serum (Cry but HMMMM) – This is difficult because I used it at a time when I wasn’t supposed to be using glycolic acids or any type of AHAs. In fact, I am still using Retin A so I should not be using any chemical exfoliant. I can’t recommend this product, but I really can’t offer an opinion. I would say try it if you are not on Retin A or if you do not have sensitive skin, it is a well reviewed product.

Drunk Elephant LaLa Retro Whipped Cream x 2 (Buy) – Here are my feelings on this skin cream. One note, I don’t know how I got my first jar to last 6 months, it is more like 2 months now, but it is a good product.
https://jillschnei.wordpress.com/2018/07/05/project-empty-buy-or-cry/

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Sensitive Daily Moisturizer (Buy) – This is a very good product if you have sensitive skin. It is especially good if you are on an isotretinoin for acne and your skin is in that very dry phase. It helped me a lot, but at the height of my treatment, I went through one of these every three weeks. It is also tested on animals so I stopped using it in favour of Drunk Elephant which ended up being more cost effective too.

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Eye Contour Cream (Cry) – La Roche-Posay makes excellent products that really worked on me. I just didn’t find that this really did any more for me than using the daily moisturizer on it’s own. I did get this free although I don’t remember why.

NIOD Ethylated L-Ascorbic Acid (Buy if I had to) – This was not a bad product, but the dropper made it really difficult to apply and to judge how much to use. I prefer Drunk Elephant’s C-Firma Day Serum. It has the perfect pump. This does smell better than C-Firma though if that is what is important to you.

Clinique Foaming Facial Soap (I believe that it is now Foaming Sonic Facial Soap) (Buy but not cruelty-free) – I got this from a friend a couple of years ago. It was fine, did what it was supposed to do. It didn’t majorly dry out my skin or cause any type of skin irritations which is always a concern for me. It was a mini so it was perfect for travel.

Estee Lauder Multi-Action Foam Cleanser/Purifying Mask (Buy but not cruelty-free) – See above – I have the very same feelings about this product. Since it is not cruelty-free, I’ll stick with Drunk Elephant.

Ahava Mineral Foot Cream (Buy) – When I first had my ankle surgery and my cast was removed, my foot and leg were SCALY in a see you later alligator kind of way. This moisturized my foot and made it look normal again.

Bite Beauty Agave+ Weekly Lip Scrub (Buy) – This worked well and the sugar exfoliated my lips nicely. It has a delightful taste. I’m not in a rush to repurchase this, but only because it feels like one more step for me. Maybe I’ll pick one up at the next Sephora sale.

Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask in Clear (Buy) – This is an amazing product – I used it every night and it is by far the product that worked the best on my parched lips during my stint with isotretinoins. I will pick another one of these up as soon as I finish with my current night time lip treatment which should coincide with Sephora’s summer sale. I don’t need to stock up on lip treatments. One at a time is my new mantra.

Beauty Bar The Ten Spot Lip Balm (Cry) – This lip balm has a nice scent, but it is just an ok product. There are better out there, but it is a Canadian brand if you want to support it. I’m not sure if they still make this product.

Feet Treat Pedi by Look Beauty Intensive Moisturizing Foot Mask (Buy) – This worked really well on my feet – it was very moisturizing. The little plastic bags though, make your feet feel disgusting while you are doing the foot mask. I would also recommend plunking yourself in front of the TV while doing this – they are very slippery too. Enjoy the moment, relax and take a load off.

Sonia Kashuk Makeup Brush Cleaning Spray (Buy) – This cleaned my brushes so well and was so easy to use. The sprayer worked until the last drop too. I just wish that it was available in Canada.

L’Oréal Total Repair Replenishing Detangling Care (Cry) – I bought this out of desperation at the drug store one day, because I couldn’t find anything else. This weighed my hair down which almost never happens. It did detangle though, so if you have course hair and are ok with a brand that isn’t cruelty-free, this may work for you.

Laura Mercier Foundation Primer Hydrating (Cry) – I just don’t find that primers do anything for me in terms of wear time or finish for foundation, and this product was no exception. It was a point perk from Sephora. It is not cruelty-free so I would not buy it anyway.

L’Oréal True Match Healthy Luminous Makeup in Warm (Cry) – I think they may have rebranded this True Match Lumi, but I recommend leaving it at the drug store. I found the formula hard to blend and the texture almost felt oily. I’m cheap so I used it up, but I was never happy with my foundation. Next.

Charlotte Tilbury Cheek to Chic Swish & Pop Blusher in Love Glow (Cry) – The colours were beautiful and went on nicely, but this blush did not have staying power on my cheeks. It is cruelty-free, but there are better options out there that are less expensive.

L’Oréal Infalliable Liner in Brown (Cry, Cry Cry, a thousand times cry) – I don’t think that they make this eyeliner anymore and I can see why. It is terrible. It does a few things that I’ve never seen happen with a liquid liner – it runs and smudges and causes raccoon eyes. If they didn’t discontinue this, stay far, far away.

Tarte Colour Splash Lipstick (Mini) in Soaked (Buy) – This was the perfect lipstick. Great colour, great formula and great lasting power. It also had a really nice finish. It is one of my favourite formulas and once I’ve used up a sufficient amount of lipsticks so that I’m not overwhelmed with volume, I will repurchase.

Smashbox Be Legendary Lipstick (Mini) in Fig (Buy) – This is also a great formula. Click here for more thoughts on this lipstick (Fig was a great colour)
https://jillschnei.wordpress.com/2019/04/30/project-empty-buy-or-cry-updates/

Sigma Tranquil Lipgloss (Buy) – Sorry, I don’t have a shade name or photo. This was really good, but it had a really weird brush applicator. I find doe-foots easier to apply gloss with. It still was a really nice product but bought it at Winners so odds are good that I won’t see it again.

Essence Lash Princess Volume Mascara (Buy) – I prefer Essence’s Lash Princess False Lash Mascara, but this is a good option if they are sold out. It lasted, didn’t flake or smudge. The price is right too at $4.99.

Guerlain by Emilio Pucci Palette (Cry) – I never loved the shadows in this palette. They had a thick consistency but stayed on with primer. I also bought it in 2007, so I thought it was time to get rid of it! Guerlain cosmetics are not my favourite (except their foundation) and they are not cruelty free, so I will not be buying anything from the line.


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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?

You know from my last post that I may watch a few too many beauty YouTubers, and my latest time suck has been Project Pan and “18 in 18” videos.  Project Pan, if you didn’t catch the definition the last go round, is when an Influencer puts select makeup into their everyday rotation so that they are forced to use up older products or even just “hit pan”.  Again, this just means that you will see usage through a little sliver of metal that peeps through the seemingly endless supply of blush/eye shadow/.  Some people make hitting pan or using up product their goal.  People who do “18 in 18” are committed to using up 18 beauty products in 2018.  This may not seem like a big goal, but these people have enough makeup to fill a Sephora.

I was watching a few of these “project empties” and was struck by the ridiculous items that they started including just so that that they could say that they had something to report.  One YouTuber showed off two tubes of toothpaste and an empty package of cotton pads.  Honey, brushing your teeth isn’t something that you should brag about, it’s essential for oral health.  What are you going to do next, show off empty toilet paper rolls?

The ridiculousness of these videos, plus my own desire to use up or declutter some of my own stash of makeup, skin care and hair care made me want to do my own project.  I have  rules for mine though, so you will not be seeing stuff that I use daily and re-buy constantly – no cotton pads, swabs or toothpaste.  I use the same shampoo and conditioner and can’t veer away from them, and I always use Simple Cleansing Cloths to take off my make up because I don’t get a rash from them.  I’m also not going to brag about body wash – I use that daily too so I won’t be showing that off.  I’m also including items that I’m decluttering.  I don’t have a goal in mind, but I’ve already gone through 17 products (to be more accurate, 11 empties and 7 decluttered items) in the two months it’s been since I’ve started this project.  Here are the items and whether I’ll re-buy or if they just made me cry.  Oh yeah – this is just my opinion, yada yada, if you don’t agree, you don’t have to – everyone’s skin and colouring are different.

Skin Care:

Skin

Gold Bond Rough and Bumpy Skin Daily Therapy Cream (Buy or Cry) – Cry – I was looking for something to replace my beloved, but discontinued Lachydrin Lotion.  I bought three of these from Amazon just in case, and have gone through 1.5.  It isn’t cheap and it’s a fine body cream but nothing spectacular and does not do anything at all for Keratosis Pilaris if that’s your skin concern.

Sol De Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream (Buy or Cry) – Cry – I paid $25 for a product just because it smelled good and said Bum Bum on the packaging.  It’s good but there are better creams out there that are a lot less costly.

LB Gentle Skin Cleanser (Buy or Cry) – Buy – it’s just as good as Cetaphil and it’s lower price tag is nice.  It’s perfect for people with sensitive skin, at least it was for me and it lasted for months, like 6 months.  Like why do I keep writing like?

Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream (Buy or Cry) – Buy – yes it’s $75, but this jar lasted me almost 6 months and did not irritate my skin.  I’m already working through my second jar.

Avène Hydrance Intense Rehydrating Serum (Buy or Cry) – Cry – it really did nothing for my skin.  It did not feel any more moisturized with it than it did without it.  They have other really good products, but this just is not one of them.

Hair

John Frieda Frizz-Ease Daily Nourishment Leave-In Fortifying Spray (Buy or Cry) – Neither – My sister gave me her half full bottle (half empty if you are a pessimist) of this when chemotherapy led to her losing most of her hair.  That makes me sniffle a little.  These is OK for a leave-in, but will never replace my Biolage Daily Leave-In Tonic.

Moroccan Oil Treatment (Buy or Cry) – Buy – I love this product!  I re-purchase it constantly.  It’s an all-in-one styler, conditioner and makes my hair shiny.  It also smells amazing.  I’ve been using it for years and always go back to it.  You only need to buy 3 a year so it’s not that pricey when you do the math.  I would not recommend it if you have fine hair – it may weigh it down.  Remember to use it only on the ends or it can make your hair look greasy.

Cosmetics

Clinique Black Honey Almost Lipstick (Buy or Cry) – Cry, because I love this product so much, it’s the perfect lip tint, but Clinique is not a cruelty-free brand (they sell in China which has mandatory animal testing).  If you are fine with that, then buy away.  I’m in the process of using up any of my cosmetics that are not cruelty free and avoiding them in the future.

Wet N Wild Pout & Love in 955B (Buy or Cry) – Cry – this product was supposed to be a tinted lip balm.  It was not terrible, but it smelled exactly like you put an entire stick of butter on your lips.  Seriously, the smell is overwhelming.  I tried to use it, but every time I put it on, I felt like I had just eaten a tub of movie theatre popcorn drenched in butter and was too lazy to wipe my lips with a napkin.

Make Up Forever Artist Liquid Matte in Shade 105 (Buy or Cry) – It’s not fair for me to provide an opinion.  This was a Sephora freebie (100 point gift).  The colour was way too nude for me so I decluttered it and gave it to my sister.  I will not buy Make Up Forever because it is not a cruelty free brand.

Quo Double Dip Lip Gloss (Buy or Cry) – Neither – it was just a very clear gloss that was fine.  I believe that the product has been discontinued.

Laura Mercier Lovers Lip Colour in Sensual (Buy or Cry) – Neither – again, this was another Sephora freebie and the colour was just not for me and I decluttered it.  I cannot figure out if Laura Mercier is cruelty free or not, so I’ll reserve judgment.

Ciate Liquid Velvet Lipstick in Voodoo (Buy or Cry) – Cry – this was part of a Sephora Favourite’s lipstick collection and this liquid lipstick took up valuable real estate.  It’s formula is drying and the colour is a big yuck.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Lip Gloss in Potion (Buy or Cry) – Both – the lip gloss is really good – it has an excellent formula, but the colour was completely wrong for me.  If you are a fan of very dark lip colours that are on the other side of goth, or if you have a deeper complexion, this would work well on you.  I found mine at Winners (Canada’s version of T.J. Maxx).

Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Volume Mascara (Buy or Cry) – It was a Sephora Freebie so I can’t cry, but I would not buy it.  It is quite clumpy and it flaked on me.  There are better mascaras out there for the price – not the free price, the retail price.

Hourglass Illusion Hyalloronic Skin Tint in Vanilla (Buy or Cry) – Buy – I did not love this product at first, but over time, it really grew on me.  It had more coverage than I was expecting and a really nice formula.  It is not my favourite, but I would go back to it.

Smashbox 24 Hour Photo Finish Shadow Primer (Buy or Cry) – BUY – this is an amazing eye primer.  It’s one product that I almost always re-purchase.  You need to use a very small amount and blend it in very well before it dries.  It really makes your shadows last all day and through the night.

There you have it.  My next list will not be as long and it will not be in six months either.  So what about you?  Are you doing your own declutter?  Which products are on your buy or cry list?  Let me know in the comment section.

 

 


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100 Days, 100s of Memories, 100s of Items

Mummy and Me Bday

It’s been 100 days since my mother died.  That’s just a little over 3 months.  It’s the time in the mourning process when you get the head bob – you know those people who sympathetically look at you, nod and say: “Oh, it’s so good that you had CLOSURE….”  “She’s in a better place…” “At least she isn’t suffering.” “Every day gets a little easier, doesn’t it?” Grief is not something that can be wrapped up into a neat little package, and there is no timeline.  When people give me the closure speech, I often want to say what does that even mean?  Closure in that I realize that my mother isn’t coming back?  I know that she isn’t.  Closure in that there was nothing left unsaid?  That’s true, but can be more properly defined as a comfort, not closure.  Closure implies a sense of resolution, and I don’t know anyone who can properly resolve themselves to the finality of losing a loved one.  It also doesn’t get easier with time, every day is different.

People mean well, but it’s a long process.  There is a beginning to grief, but no middle and no end.  There is just a level of coping.  I can get up, go to work, do many things as well as I did before.  The brief fog that was part of the early days of loss has lifted.  I can carry on conversations with people and they would never know that there is anything wrong unless I told them.  It just isn’t something that you can adjust to overnight or over the course of three months.  Keeping occupied helps – it’s when I stop to think about things that reality sets in.

Outside of work, upcoming travel, socializing and settling my mother’s affairs, I need another project to keep me busy.  Something useful…something cleansing…and there is nothing more cleansing than a good declutter.  I’ve recently watched a number of YouTube videos where Influencers declutter cosmetics.  I’m a little obsessed with these videos, but I saw another video where the Influencer decided to get rid of 1,000 items from their home.  That’s a little ambitious for me, I did a huge declutter in 2015 – here is a small sample of things that I got rid of:        https://jillschnei.wordpress.com/2015/10/19/konfessions/

I did think carefully about it, and while 1,000 seems to be a daunting number, why not try for 300?   I’ll provide a progress report for you with every 100 items that I’m getting rid of and a few special features.  Some items will be thrown out, most will be donated and a small amount will be sold.  I’m excited to simplify things and to have a goal in mind.  My mother would definitely approve.


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Satanic Starbucks and More Kon-fessions

starbucks

Image courtesy of starbucks.com

I know, I know, I’m late to the party, but I just wanted to add my thoughts to the recent craziness around Starbucks latest holiday design.  Umm…can we say, get a real problem?  There are people being starving all around the world, there’s homelessness, there are terrorist attacks, there are children being trafficked and abused (at least Jared the Subway guy is safely sandwiched away in prison) and animals being tortured or abandoned and there is Donald Trump!  The best that people can do is come together to protest that Starbucks didn’t put a snow flake – a sign of precipitation not Christianity – on it’s cups this year?  I would understand the upset if year after year they put the Nativity Scene on their cups – which to me, a Jewish person, is the true meaning of Christmas – but they don’t.  I looked back at designs of yesteryear and they included, but were not limited to snowflakes, reindeer, skating scenes, snowmen (or since we are politically correct snow people, snow women or snow people that may be transgendered) and a Christmas ornament.

I wish people a Merry Christmas or best wishes on whatever holiday they are celebrating (I’ve written about this before – remember my rant last year about calling a Christmas Tree just that?).  If I don’t know what religion they follow, it’s a generic happy holidays.  I believe that people should be able to celebrate whatever they want or not celebrate at all.  A coffee cup to me doesn’t signify anything other than a vessel for holding my tall, no foam, skinny vanilla latte (sometimes I ask for it extra hot, because I can).  If you followed the true meaning of the holidays then the people so up in arms over Starbucks would spend their $4 on a charity and put their money to better use.  If a red and green snowman less cup is your biggest problem, I’d gladly trade you – it’s been a rough year.

Now back to more Oz related pursuits AKA decluttering.  I’ve continued the KonMari method outlined in “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up”.      I can see why she says it takes up to 6 months – it’s been a huge job.  In the last few weeks, I’ve had to go slightly outside of her order – I’m supposed to be working on papers – and moved to CDs, tapes, VHS tapes, DVDs, etc.  Worry not, I did still manage to get rid of a big bag of paper (shredded) and a small recycling bin of notebooks and other paper-like sundries,  but I still have a bit of ways to go on that project.  I did manage to get rid of the following:

  • 84 cassette tapes – who needs them?
  • 16 CDs – just the ones I never listen to – I haven’t digitized my other CDs yet – that may not happen for awhile
  • 3 old VHS movies – I’m going to try posted my Disney movies on Kijiji
  • Assorted knick knacks
  • More dishes

This week, I’m posted more stuff on Kijiji to see where I net out with the collectibles and I’m going to finish off my papers.  Next week, it’s skin cream (easy), make up and accessories.  I know – fun times – right?  I’ll keep you posted on my progress, but see below for the load from two weeks ago:

Value Village is now the proud owner of 5 more boxes from Casa Schneiderman.  In case you are getting sick of my decluttering posts, I know I am, tune in for an exclusive 3 part series with a Dietician.  You learn…actually, you’ll have to come back to read more…

 

 


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The Sadness of Soft Toys and The Royal Treatment at Value Village

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Decluttering means saying good-bye to old friends.  I’ll miss Melvin, Pookie and Pink Poodle, but every once you have to let go of something that you love to make room for more peace in your life.  Ok, that was me trying to be deep.  The truth is, Melvin’s sunglasses were falling off, Pookie doesn’t exist and Pink Poodle may be unimaginative, but I’m also the girl that gave her stuffed animals classic names like Teddy, Pink Bunny and Blue Bunny when I was growing up.  Nothing wrong with being literal.  The stuffed animals didn’t seem to mind.  Pink Poodle was given to me by one of my dearest friends to remind me of the time that I gave myself a really bad bang trim.  She also bought me a giggling, burping beanie baby that sounds vaguely like me.

It was more than time for me to give away my soft toys to a loving home.  It was also time to get rid of dishes that weren’t being used, glasses that were collecting dust and knick knacks that were more nicked than knacked.  Where did the 5 cases and one garbage bag of home clutter go?  Value Village.  I have to say – dropping my old dishes and toys off was an amazing experience – they treat you like royalty.  Just stop at the donation drop off entrance and out come a couple of big strong men to take a load off your hands.  All I did was point and I got to have everything carried away.  All of the proceeds from Value Village go to charity and they help keep your worn items out of landfills.  They even take orphan socks – who knew?  Check out https://www.valuevillage.com/donate/what-we-take to see what you can donate.  Best experience at a charity ever.

In addition to the 2 sets of dishes, dozen glasses, 16 stuffed animals, etc. that left my abode, I also noticed that my building was doing a hazardous waste drop off.  I scurried down with 5 cans of old paint.  Remember, as freeing as it is to declutter, you also should be environmentally responsible dear readers.  I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to get this little project finished.  Next on the list is sorting papers and even I can’t make that task fun and interesting.  I may have to combine it with something a little more entertaining…maybe Gwyneth Paltrow’s latest health advice?  Stay tuned to find out more.


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KonFessions

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After reading “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and learning more about the KonMari method, I have dedicated the next few months to decluttering like I’ve never decluttered before.  Dr. Oz and Marie Kondo are both right – you feel less stress when you have fewer items clogging up your life (and surroundings).

As you can see from the above tower of clothing – this weekend, in between outings, I continued to work on my clothes.  I’m no longer a smugly mcsmuglord like I was last year.  I’ve had to stop saying look how much I’ve gotten rid of you peons and take a really hard took at what I was hanging onto – which Kondo forces you to do.  I had t-shirts from university – granted that was only a couple of years ago, because I’m so young, ok maybe more than a couple of years, but I never wanted to get did of them because they represented some of the best times of my life.  As I read the book, I became aware that even if the sweatshirt and t-shirts go, I’ll still remember everything.  That was also true for some t-shirts that I got on trips when I first started travelling.  I never wore the shirts, even when I was younger I knew that they were Glamour Fashion Don’ts, but I held onto them like a dutiful pack rat.  I’m happy to say they are all gone, along with a whole bunch of other clothes that fit into 4 garbage bags for donation and 1 for actual trash.  For those of you that are curious, and no judgment if you are, here is a tally of my dearly departed clothes:

  • 5 coats
  • 1 scarf
  • 2 pairs of gloves
  • 4 purses
  • 2 pairs of jeans
  • 1 pair of boots
  • 1 blouse
  • 1 dress
  • 1 shawl
  • 2 bodysuits
  • 1 bathing suit
  • 13 camis and tank tops
  • 9 pairs of socks
  • 26 sweaters
  • 22 tops
  • 21 t-shirts
  • 6 sweat shirts
  • 1 belly dancing belt

I didn’t talk to my clothes like Kondo suggests in her book, thanking them for their service.  I also played music which she doesn’t recommend.  I did enjoy the process and it’s nice being able to see my colour coded clothes (something that I’ve always done) – don’t laugh, it makes life easier.  I feel like my clothes can breathe, and that because they aren’t jammed together so tightly, maybe I won’t have pilling on my favourite sweaters.  A girl can dream right?  I probably didn’t get rid of enough to pare my wardrobe down to KonMari standards, but I’m very happy with what I kept and don’t miss a single item that I threw out or donated.

The next item on Kondo’s list, and I am going in order, is books.  I got rid of 29 books in total.  Konfession – I still had books from my PR days, a few other text books and a number of books that there was no hope that I’d ever read.  All text books are now disposed of – I realized that I thought, perhaps, that I may refer to them, and guess what?  They’ve never been opened – they sat on my shelf like sad orphans wishing that I’d sold them to another student.

BIG KONFESSION (spelling intended-it’s a play on KonMari)!  I finally realized that I wasn’t going to ever read “The English Patient”.  Bigger KONFESSION – I hated the movie.  I can admit it now, but way back when it came out, it was frowned upon to not rave about the snore-fest, I mean film.  So as a dutiful snob, I went out and bought the book thinking of how sophisticated I’d look reading the book as the weirdo next to me on the subway clips his nails (yes, it happens).  More books than I can write about are being donated to my condo’s library and Value Village.  I thank them for taking space up on my shelf, but now it’s time to set them free.  I feel very KonMari saying that.  See below for what is affectionately known as “the pile”.

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Until next time, happy decluttering!


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Driving Miss Daisy, KonMari and Other Things to be Thankful For

Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canadians!

This weekend was a very busy one with Frousin time, Family Thanksgiving on Sunday and Thanksgiving with friends that are like family today.  In between, I also had my fifth and sixth driving lessons and have started to take the advice of Marie Kondo – author of “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.”

Conquering fears, trying to de-stress and decluttering is really what my Dr. Oz journey has been about this year.  Driving is another fear that I am conquering – especially driving in a big city.  It’s an adjustment driving again, but every time I get behind the wheel, I feel a little less Miss Daisy, and a little more like I can do this – I can drive faster than 60 kilometres an hour!  I can do a 3-point turn!  I can drive without running anyone over!  I still have a ways to go and need a little more confidence – don’t we all – but I believe I’ll be ready for my road test in December.  Wish me luck – or wish yourselves luck if you happen to be a Toronto driver.

In addition to driving, I also have spent a good deal of time starting my next round of decluttering.  I know that I wrote many a post about this last year.  Like a Smugly McSmug Lady, I bragged about all of the things that I was getting rid of…then I read “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” and realized that my work has just begun.  The book divides your home into different categories (part of the KonMari method) and suggests that you tackle one category before you move on to another.  You don’t purge rooms – you purge categories.  I’ve started with tops, as Marie Kondo suggests starting with clothing and even tells you down to the item, what order you should do this in.  Some of her suggestions are hooey – I’m not going to say hi to my home or thank my clothes for serving me, but I do see her point about getting rid of things that you no longer love or have no use for.  I also understand her advice about getting rid of things that you may have an emotional attachment to  – the memory will still be there, but the item of clothing or knick knack no longer needs to take up space.  So far, I have a mouton of clothes, literally, that I’m either going to donate or toss.  It’s a lot more than I expected after last year…but it’s been cleansing in more ways than one.  I’ll keep you posted on my progress, with photos.  Dr. Oz will be very proud of me, and in a weird way, it is relaxing.

As it’s Thanksgiving, I should express some sort of gratitude…but I have to say, it’s been a bit of a challenge this year.  I’m always grateful for family and friends, but I think that right now, I’m the most thankful for the life lessons that I’ve learned this year.  Right now, the lesson that I’m learning is that it’s ok to get rid of possessions but it’s also ok to keep what you really love.  It doesn’t seem like a big deal, until you are in the process of it yourself.


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So, We’ve Come to the End of the Road….

Pondering

In the words of the immortal band, Boyz 2 Men,  that I’ve never been a big fan of, we’ve come to the end of the road.  I’ve committed to writing this blog for a year and that time has now come to a close.  I’m not sure if I’ll continue on or not, that remains to be seen and what is life without a cliffhanger?  This year, there have been peaks and valleys.  I think I’ve learned more in the past few years, then I have in the sum total of my life and this year was no different.  Here are some life lessons for you to consider as we change calendars:

  • The worst thing to live with is regret so don’t put things off, you never know what tomorrow will bring
  • It’s better to be kind sometimes, than to be right (and it pains me to say that)
  • No matter how type A you are, some things are beyond your control (huge pain saying that too)
  • It’s ok to be selfish at times (as long as it’s not to the detriment of someone else)
  • You have to try things that are either outside of your comfort zone or that scare you – life is too short not to try things at least once
  • You know how I like to quote cheesy songs, so in the words of Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney’s “Ebony and Ivory” – there is good and bad in everyone.  I felt that I had to quote Stevie Wonder at least once since I got bored and left his concert

Here are some peaks for my year:

  • Keeping up with this blog no matter how out of control my work load was.  It helped me cross one item off of my bucket list
  • I kept my New Year’s Resolution to make my health a priority – I had a mammogram, had blood work done, and changed some bad habits (although there is still room for improvement)
  • Finding Deepak Chopra – it’s the first time I’ve connected to anything self help and although some of what he says is beyond me, or could be construed as hooey – like Dr. Oz, you can pick and choose and find out a lot of insightful information
  • The trips that I took.  The ultimate peak was hiking to a glacier
  • Knowing that I can take a cyber break and be ok (and you can too)
  • Finding something to be grateful for every single day
  • Having moments where I actually felt good again
  • The people that I spent time with including family and friends (old and new and those that I got to reconnect with)
  • Getting to watch my niece graduate from college
  • Seeing my mother at her 75th birthday party

Here are the valleys:

  • ?
  • Let’s not focus on the valleys – we all have trials and tribulations to deal with and after the trauma of 2012 and 2013, life really wasn’t so bad this year

Here is a quick summary of my Oz Journey:

Pounds lost – 17

Items banished through decluttering – 214

Items sold on Kijiji – 3

Meditations that I tried – 63

Times where I actually meditated – 1 (I think)

Bottles of probiotics used – 3

Bottles of Vitamin D used – 1.5 (they were big bottles)

Containers of flax – 3

Nuts consumed – can’t count that high, but maybe in the hundreds of thousands

Shampoo mohawks made since I found out they could damage your hair – 1 – I slipped

Times per week that I exfoliate my skin – 1 as Dr. Oz recommends

Reams of paper shredded – 1

Number of page views – almost 5,000

Number of posts that I’ve written – 176 including this one

Knowledge gained – immense

Gratitude to you, my readers – immeasurable

I wish you all good health and great happiness in 2015 and whether I continue on with this blog or not, I will forever be…

Gratefully yours,

Jill