Monday, August 27, 2012

Not Buying Things is Weird.

As I'm establishing--or, struggling to establish, anyway--my rules and limits for what I'm allowed to buy (more on that coming as soon as I've gotten all of it figured out), I'm finding it incredibly odd.  I'm happier, much happier, with my spending habits and purchases recently.  From a logical standpoint, anyway.  I'm not used to going to the thrift store and picking out one item that I LOVE from a pile of things that I like.  I'm used to walking out with the entire pile.  I'm not used to going into a drugstore and coming out with two items of makeup I'll use almost daily.  I'm used to going in and coming out with $30 (or more) of whatever was on sale and clearance.  I'm not used to coming home from a shopping trip and having gotten useful things.  No makeup to swatch, no clothing to try on, no haul video to film.  Just toothpaste and floss.  Just compressed air to clean out my computer.  Just a storage box for my closet.

I'm proud of myself.  I'm elated that I can walk through the makeup aisles in Walmart and no longer HAVE to buy anything.  I can go in there to pick out one item that I'd decided in advance that I wanted.  I can go to  Goodwill and try on 10 pieces of clothing, then fairly easily convince myself that I'm not going to buy anything unless I love it, and end up with just a skirt.  But it feels so empty.

It was a hole that shouldn't have been there.  A hole I'm trying to get rid of without filling it, but it would be so much easier to just do that.  I know I shouldn't, and I know I can't.  I can't afford to go back to that lifestyle.  If I did it now, I know I would regret it.  I would hate myself.  But I would still enjoy that high while it lasted.

So I did go shopping today.  And I think I did fairly well.  As I insinuated, much better than I would have this time about a year ago.  I went to Walmart and came out with the skirt hangers I'd intended to buy, a brown mascara like I was looking for, toothpaste and floss because bad breath isn't cute, and a green Sterilite box for under-bed storage in the dorm this year.  I did make an impulse buy, but it was something I've been wanting to try for a while.  I've literally been eyeing these masks for years, and I've always wanted to try them, but for some reason never did it.  I know they're ridiculously overpriced for their one-time-use sizes, but I couldn't find the Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque anywhere, so I decided to give some of them a try.

Maybelline Great Lash Lots of Lashes in Brownish Black

Masks in Pomegranate, Pineapple, Mint & Lemon, Cucumber, and Dead Sea Minerals.

Then I went to Goodwill and tried on a wide variety of clothing with the intention of buying a lot more than I did, and that's what I'm happiest about today.  I was willing to let myself buy several additional things.  I WANTED to like them, but since I didn't love them, I had no desire to buy them.  Admittedly, one of the other things, I would have gladly bought, had it fit me, but it was a size XS and wouldn't quite zip past the chest area, so clearly that was out of the question.

I got one skirt, and it did need a bit of repair on the back by the zipper, which I actually only realized after I got it home, but luckily it was a quick fix--5 minutes with a needle and thread--fortunate, since my sewing machine seems to currently be out of commission.  It was unlike anything I already have, as I don't have many light colored skirts or skirts made of a woven material.  Most of mine, especially my casual skirts, are stretchy knits, because overall I find those more comfortable.  This one fit me perfectly around the waist, though, and was just the right level of swishy and floofy, as well as being my favorite just-below-the-knee length.  For $4.99, I think I'll get a lot of use out of it.

Tonight inspired what I plan to make one of my rules for shopping in the future.  If I buy something intending to fix it up, it must be fixed the following time I have access to the materials (and time) to fix it.  So many of the clothes I got rid of last week were clothes I'd bought from Goodwill intending to alter them slightly so I could wear them, and then I got distracted by more exciting sewing projects and never got around to them.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Downsizing My Life

I think I've decided to use this blog to document my ~*journey to discovering myself*~ or some other cliche sentiment like that.   I've changed a lot over the past year or so, but I sort of got stuck at realizing what was wrong in my life.  I still haven't fully decided "who I am" or how I want to live the rest of my life.  Obviously a lot of what I post will still relate to makeup, hair, nails, and clothes.  That's probably a lot more fun for you to read about, and a lot easier for me to write about, than addressing all the other issues I have with my life.   I still have a lot of problems to work on, many of which I'm terrified to even address.  So for now, I'll start with the obvious, tangible things.

As was probably evident from my original post on here, I have this problem with excess stuff.  For several years, I collected absurd amounts of makeup and clothing, most of it unused.  I was watching my old Youtube haul videos last night, and wanting to reach through the screen to slap myself for such utterly frivolous spending.  Probably at least 80% of what I bought, I didn't wear more than once or twice.  Easily 30-50% of what I bought from the thrift store, I never even wore.  I gave away heaps of things with tags still attached.  So what if they were $1-3 each?  For even 50 items, that's probably around $100 I didn't have to spend.

It took me a long time to overcome the mindset of "Oh this could be cute, I could style an outfit around this," because let's face it, as much as I love fashion, I roll out of bed in the morning and throw on whatever I can find in time to get me to class before I'm late.  Within the past year, I finally came to a point where I ask myself, "Do I love this?  Will I WANT to wear this, rather than push it to the back of my closet for a day when I have nothing to do but play with ridiculous clothing?"  Then I ask myself, "Do you even look good in this?"  I had a tendency to buy things that I really really liked, that looked awful on me.  Loose top and tight bottom does very little for a pear shape with nothing up top and large hips, so I had to learn to keep my flowy pieces mainly to skirts.

I looked for pictures, and I may make a future blog post with them if I can find them eventually, of my old makeup storage.  Four or 5 large Sterilite 3-drawer containers at least half full of makeup--I tend to arrange things on the bottom of the drawers, but don't like to stack things multiple layers deep--with extras piled on top of and around them.  (Note, when I say "large" I mean the ones with drawers about the size of sheets of paper, not the enormous ones the size of dresser drawers.)  This eventually expanded into another set of drawers on the floor, although there were only 2 or 3 drawers of that which actually held makeup.

Similarly, my wardrobe didn't fit in my room, much less in my closet.  I had a closet with a rod about 3 or 4 feet long, and I had that crammed full, a dresser crammed full, several other boxes on shelves crammed full, and was occupying part of the guest room closet, and I still ended up hanging clothes from my bunk bed almost all the time, because they just didn't fit anywhere.  

Last summer, the guy I was dating was a bit of a minimalist fanatic, and while I'd never wish to take my life to that extreme--as admirable as it may be--he encouraged me to get rid of all the excess I'd accumulated.  It was incredibly liberating to empty my room of probably 50-70% of the clothing that I'd owned, as well as probably 40-50% of my makeup.

This summer, I'm trying to do that again.  Even for the relatively small amount of clothing I brought with me to college, and the comparatively small amount I've purchased since being here (as opposed to an enormous bag from the thrift store at least once a week, plus other assorted shopping trips), I still have a lot that I don't need.  At this point, it's harder, though, because I LIKE everything that I own.  There are no longer dozens of pieces in my closet that I've never worn nor do I have much desire to wear.  I love everything I currently have, and I'd wear it all if I could.  But I can't.  There is no reason for me to own this much, and for that reason, I am cutting it down to as little as I see possible.

I don't want to have nothing to wear.  While in some ways I wish I were the type of person who's just fine with wearing the same few pairs of jeans and T shirts every day, I do enjoy fashion, and I do like having a variety of things to dress up in.  I don't want to whittle my closet down to as little as I can get through the week with, but I don't want to be embarrassed and ashamed of the amount of clothing that I own.  I want to feel that what I have is justified and reasonable.

Sweaters, cardigans, and shirts currently in my closet

Skirts and dresses currently in my closet.

Shoe rack purchased last week from Goodwill for $8.

Purses currently in my closet.  
I feel like the amount that I have may be a bit excessive, but I like having purses to match my outfits, and with the exception of about 4 of them, all were $2-3 from thrift stores.

My "maybe" pile of clothing I'm not sure I want to keep.

My give-away piles + purses (in addition to 4 pairs of shoes, not pictured)

Aaaand a gorgeous notebook I got from Walmart today while I was attempting to buy things for when school starts again in a month.  I'm not sure what I want to use it for yet, but I couldn't pass it up.  I have a "thing" for pretty notebooks.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

TRIPLE SHINY! Nails of the Day

I love glitter.  Probably a lot more than most people.  Probably a lot more than I should, given how much I hate removing even regular nail polish.  So today's nail of the day is a layering of 3 different shiny nail polishes.  I'm absolutely in love with the subtle multicolor effect from the different glitters.

Left to Right: Milani Disco Lights, Bonita (no name) small lime green glitter, and Wet n Wild Going Platinum

This look was achieved by excessive piling on of the glitter.  First I painted one layer of Going Platinum, which went on surprisingly opaque, then two layers of Disco Lights, followed by two layers of the green glitter.  It would probably have been best to add a topcoat, but I didn't, and it's lasted a full day so far with no chipping.

If you wanted to recreate this look, in place of the green glitter I used--which was purchased in a set at Ross, so I have no idea where this brand is normally sold--you could substitute either Sinful Colors Call You Later, an olive/lime green with a few larger chunks of glitter, or Jesse's Girl Fire Fly, a green and white opalescent glitter which looks amazing layered over a variety of colors.  Both should be available at Rite Aid.

The Going Platinum polish I used is from the presumably new "Fergie" line from Wet n Wild, but I'm fairly sure that this color is an almost exact dupe for the Steel the Spotlight shade from their Chrome collection earlier this year.  I knew that when I bought it, and was actually incredibly happy to see it, because I loved Steel the Spotlight, although it was limited edition, and very expensive for such a small bottle ($3.99 for .29 oz).  I also didn't really like the formula, as it was a very chip-prone polish that didn't last 2 days without looking awful.  The Fergie line was $3.49 each, regular price.

New Beginnings

Well hello, internet, I guess I couldn’t stay away for very long.  Different format, maybe, but there seems to be some part of me that loves sharing my life with strangers everywhere.

Starting in October of 2010, I had a Youtube channel centered around makeup, fashion, and shopping.  That was who I was, then.  I was stuck in an awful controlling relationship with no friends in real life, no actual hobbies to speak of, and a whole lot of spare time.  Then I discovered the Youtube “beauty community.”  A whole group of girls who loved to share fashion and makeup videos, to show each other what they’d bought–the great sales they’d found, or the items they’d splurged on–and to give their opinions on the items they’d purchased.  I decided that this was just the thing for me.

I’ve always been told that I have a gift for public speaking, and here was my chance to put it to good use.  I started recording videos in my bedroom as I slipped into what can only be described as an ultimately harmful addiction to clearance shopping for clothing and makeup.  Of course I started with the best of intentions, I was going to show these girls that not everything had to cost full price.  That you could find cute, fashionable clothes if you were willing to dig through the clearance racks or thrift store bins.  But anything I enjoy doing, I do enthusiastically and wholeheartedly.  This wasn’t some harmless hobby on the side.  This was the highlight of my day.  This was my purpose in life.  If I didn’t show these people all the cheap stuff they could be getting, who would?

Clearly, I never had it that bad.  I’m very thankful that these lessons in life came early and with no lasting damage, perhaps besides the memories.  I could have gone thousands of dollars into debt, but while I spent far more than I should have, I never spent money I didn’t have.  I could have been completely alone after breaking off the relationship, leading me nowhere to go but farther down the hole.  I could have been addicted to something far worse and physically harmful than spending money to save it.  I could have.

It’s still not easy.  I’m still not perfect.  I still pass things in the drugstore and excitedly plan which colors I’m going to buy and do a review video on, only to have to stop myself and remind myself that I don’t do that anymore.  That I haven’t really made a makeup video in over a year, and there’s absolutely no reason why I would start doing that again.  I still shop, but I shop smarter.  Rather than buying 25 things at the thrift store for $2 each and never using them, I’ll buy 2 or 3 things for $4-5 and use them once a week.  Rather than obsessively buying every shade of every piece of makeup at the Dollar Tree, I have 4 eyeshadow palettes from my collection that I’ve used almost exclusively this entire past year I’ve been away at college.

I don’t want to dwell on the past anymore.  I’ve spent the  past year missing the enjoyment that doing Youtube videos used to bring me, yet I was terrified to venture into that again and risk anything.  Risk letting down my subscribers.  Risk falling back into old habits that are clearly nowhere near gone.  Risk coming back to an entirely changed “community” that no longer focuses on sharing honest opinions, but is now centered on paid sponsorships, dishonest endorsements, and wasteful spending.

I want to be me again.  I’m the treehugging fashionista who wants to save the whales as much as she wants to buy cute new shoes.  The creative scientist who is equally enthusiastic about conducting research projects and inventing new sewing patterns.  I tried very hard to narrow down my field of interests to something specific and purposeful, but that’s not me.  There is no one subject that fully captivates my interest, and I think that most people aren’t so one-dimensional as to only find a few things of interest.  So please, feel free to ignore my posts rambling on about anything you lack any interest in, but I hope that I will write about something to interest you, to arouse your curiosity, or to inspire your creativity.
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