Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Neal's Yard Remedies - Foundation Review

Now these aren't exactly the *best* pictures of me (left is without foundation, right is with foundation) but I wanted to show you how light and natural the new foundation I bought is.  Makeup isn't a requirement for survival so if you're being really technical, all of it is wasteful consumption.  That being said, makeup is a pretty entrenched part of our society - and I like how it makes me look - so I'm not cutting it from my life.

Neal's Yard Remedies products are all manufactured in their purpose built factory in Dorset and they are very careful with their ingredient choices, preferring to omit substances that aren't proven safe.  This is the first of their products that I've purchased so I'm still being introduced to the brand.

Their mineral foundation comes in a very limited selection of colours, there are currently only 4.  As I'm new to the brand, I'm unsure of whether there were previously more options or if they are expecting to add colours more suitable to darker skin tones but this foundation line is probably pretty useless to POC.  I can't *guarantee* that since, as you can probably assume from my photo, I have zero experience in choosing makeup tones for non-pasty skin but even their darkest shade seems *awfully* light.

For the members of the population that haven't been ignored, I can recommend this product IF you prefer foundations that provide light coverage.  If you struggle with problem skin or have significant variations in skin tone, this foundation will probably not be ideal for you.  It has very light coverage and even when I attempted to "build" the coverage by blending more on, it was still very sheer.  I don't wear heavy makeup though so this was perfect for me.  I also found that once it "set" (ie, absorbs some of your skin's oil), it had a "glowy" finish instead of the super matte look some mineral foundations provide.

It was $39 when I purchased it (regular price, I'm not sure if it ever goes on sale) so this is clearly not a drugstore makeup price point.  I haven't purchased department store or specialty store foundation for years but I imagine this is similar to their price points.

Neal's Yard Remedies is fairly new to Canada and according to their website, currently only has 2 store locations, both of which are in Calgary.  If you live outside this area, I encourage you to check out their website at NealsYardRemedies.ca.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Body Blues

I'm embarrassed to admit that even at 34 years old, I still struggle with self-esteem issues and my body.  I had reached a point about 5 years ago where I was actually happy (thrilled, even!) with my body and fitness level.  I felt strong and attractive.  My fitness level suffered a bit when I started working a second job but I was still more or less okay with where I was.  When I got my promotion at work about 2.5 years ago, things went rapidly downhill.  Being on reserve meant my schedule was a joke and packing food became nearly impossible.  I regularly packed food and then had to toss it because it was either not allowed past customs or I was unable to keep it cold enough to be safe.  The saving grace was I lived across the street from my gym and so was still able to make it there regularly enough.

I love Calgary, really I do, but I'm struggling even more with this reserve schedule (where I'm often not even called).  You would think that being paid to sit around, waiting for a call would be a dream but apparently, for control freaks like me...its less than ideal.  In Ontario, I was used to always being called out and then being able to fit in a short workout during my layovers.  Now, I wait to be called and kill whole days by doing nothing.  I can go for walks through my neighbourhood but whenever I pack up my car to try and hit the gym (bringing all my work-related stuff with me in case I'm called out), I start feeling very anxious.  I wish I could say it was just a bit of discomfort but I actually am SUPER anxious, like just-shy-of-anxiety-attack anxious.  I know I should just work on pushing past that but frankly, with the emotional upheaval that has occurred due to everything else, I kinda just don't want to deal with it.

Where does that leave me?  More or less stuck at home for half the week but able to get in regular exercise the other part of the week.  What I need to do is focus on finding fitness options for me to do at home, while waiting for a call.  So far, I've found 2 apps, Sworkit and Nike Training Club.  I will have to devote some funds to picking up some equipment (hopefully I can find some stuff secondhand???) so I can add some weights/resistance to these workouts but we'll see if that's any kind of improvement.  My friend Karen over at torontogirlwest.com (who I'm sure had changed to a new blog name and will have to find it!!) is currently running a Wellness Challenge and trying to coach me through this rough spot.  

Please wish me luck,

Saturday, January 2, 2016

My Versalette arrived!!!

I had been off flying for a few days over the holidays and when I returned home I was *freaking delighted* to find out my Versalette (by Seamly.co) had come in the mail.  I had really, really wanted the black one for Christmas but my parents decided to give me money instead of buying things off my Christmas list and by the time I found, the black one had sold out so I opted to buy the navy version (which is fine by me since my closet is filled with black, navy, gray and white clothing anyways with only a few more colourful items).

This is basically how the conversation in my head took place once I checked my mailbox after arriving home (keep in mind I was exhausted after a loooong day of flying):

Yay!!! My Versalette is here!!! Woot!!  Best. Day. EVER!!

scampers back to apartment, tears open package, holds up Versalette

Um....how does this work?  This hang tag only shows the final products...how is the model managing to not look like she's wearing a sack?!?!

attempts to arrange versalette in various configurations, getting tangled in various drawstrings

Ohmigod...I must be too stupid to own this type of clothing.  How am I too dumb for this????

drops Versalette to the ground in despair, hauls out iPad, watches how-to videos clutching Versalette and wearing nothing but a bra and underwear

Okaaaay, I think I understand this a bit more.

SLOWLY try on a few configurations, managing to look decent, decide on ruched T-shirt look with jeans for evening walk

I then walked to the library to drop off my library books despite my utter exhaustion (they were due the next day and I'm too cheap/broke to let myself deal with library fines) and during the walk home, convinced myself that I hadn't tied the bottom drawstrings well enough and I was now wearing jeans with a Versalette dress under my winter jacket.  It turns out I was wrong, everything HAD stayed in place and I was just being paranoid.  Now my lovely purchase has been packed away in my layover bag until I'm on days off.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Recent purchase recap

I'm always amused by the way irony pops up in my life.  I'll make a decision to attempt to make fewer, but more ethical, purchases and then suddenly have a list of items I need to replace or simply acquire.  I think I still shop less than most people but here is a quick recap of the non-grocery items I've purchased since November 26th:

  • 3 pairs of black tights (for use with uniform), 2 plain white Ts and 2 plain shirts with 3/4 length sleeves - all from American Apparel (hate their advertising and corporate culture but their manufacturing is done in the US).
  • mini-Christmas tree and stocking holder - purchased secondhand, not exactly a minimalist purchase but I caved and wanted holiday decor.  
  • serving tray & bowl, pitcher, 4 tumblers, salt shaker, cashmere sweater, half roll of wrapping paper - purchased secondhand, sweater will be hacked for an ugly sweater party then reused in my regular wardrobe, the kitchen items replaced items that broke in my move or that were needed when I planned a dinner party larger than what my place settings could cover off
  • Teflon fry pan and oven thermometer - NOT an ethical purchase but my sister had requested a new frying pan for Christmas and I had a gift card to use at Winners/Homesense.  She's very brand loyal so buying a brand she wasn't familiar with would have upset her (she would feel like I was being cheap) and I needed the thermometer for my oven which is really and truly having some temperature issues and will, apparently, require some kind of repair.
  • pair of black Madewell ponte pants and chambray button down shirt - purchased secondhand as I needed another pair of pants and have been looking for a chambray shirt for awhile.
Exciting?  Not really.  Looking at my list I even feel like I've done way more shopping than I usually do but with my weight fluctuations and items that didn't survive the cross country move, I suppose its bound to happen, no matter how long I put it off.

This experiment will be interesting moving forward as, frankly, my budget is ridiculously tight now that I live in Calgary and making more ethical choices when purchasing new items isn't cheap because there are higher labour, material and manufacturing costs to consider.  It looks like I'll have to try to stick to secondhand shopping as often as possible which doesn't really do much to support local or ethical companies but at least is a better choice for the planet by stepping out of the supply-demand production cycle and keeping usable goods out of landfills.

I'm on-call quite a bit from now into the New Year so I might be blogging much but I'll try to get back on that wagon in 2016.


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A new take on shopping

Anyone who knows me IRL or who has read through some of my previous posts know that I'm a pretty big fan of thrift store shopping.  This has usually been because I could cover my needs by buying clothing/goods that someone else decided they didn't like/need and save money at the same time.  Yeah, I can be a cheap mofo but how else do you think I managed to buy a house and do all sorts of renos on a flight attendant salary?!

I decided to up the ante by trying to choose more ethical sources for any new purchases I do make.  "Ethical" is a tricky term and I have to admit, I'm not as hardcore as some of the ethical consumers I've found online.   Since about mid-November, I've been trying to make sure my purchases are more responsible by either being secondhand (so its outside of the usual supply-demand cycle that drives manufacturing) or being a better choice either environmentally and/or through labour and manufacturing practices.

This has not proven to be a cheap decision but I'll do what I can, when I can.

I thought I'd post some pics of an example of how this new take on shopping has affected my choices.  I had been debating getting some Blundstone boots (retail at about $200).  These are the (similar style) Steve Madden brand Chelsea boots I found at Feisty Consignment, a cute little consignment store in my neighbourhood.  Yes, they needed a good polishing and to have some new rubbery-sole-thingies put on but a) they're secondhand so buying them keeps them out of the landfill until they are truly beyond repair and b) even after repairs, they came to less than half of what a new pair of Blundstones would cost me.  They've already gotten some use by their first owner so they likely won't last as long as a new pair of shoes but I still think I've made the right choice.  I'm just bummed that I can't wear them as often as I'd like due to it being winter...

I'm not sure how to get the pics all on one line but the lower right picture is after polish/repair.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

I moved to Calgary!!

It's been a difficult year, filled with personal change, renovations, selling my house, buying a condo, selling/donating almost all of my personal possessions and then moving across the country.  Now I'm in a new city and having to settle in/make new friends.

The move definitely cemented my minimalist beliefs.  I went from about 1600 sq ft of living space to 740 sq ft of living space (plus a small storage shed, probably about 25 sq ft).  I got rid of a lot of clothes I was hoping to fit into again one day and a lot of items that I simply held onto because I had the space to store them in my home in Ontario.  There is definitely not a lot of clutter at my new place.

The move has meant a significant change in my income, about $25k less a year.  Crazy, right?  I'm currently only working one job and my schedule at my new base involves fewer hours so I'm having to be really strict with my finances right now.  2016 will involve some serious decisions about having to increase my income.  I'll either have to go back to working 2 jobs or by taking a demotion so that I earn less per hour but have the opportunity to work more hours with a better schedule.  Right now, I'm trying to get by on what I earn and focus on making connections with people here in Calgary.

I'm attempting to maintain my minimalist lifestyle and also be a more ethical consumer.  I'll try to keep you updated on the challenges and progress I make.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Killing time, waiting to be called out

The purging has continued and, happily, it's starting to become more noticeable.  My closet isn't necessarily much emptier but its (mostly) filled with items I like to wear.  There will be a bit more culling done but its gotten to the point where I'm not sure which of the remaining items can go so I've re-hung everything with the hangers facing the opposite way (this is sometimes referred to as Oprah's hanger trick).  After about 2 months, anything that is still left hanging in that direction will be sent to the thrift store.

There isn't much excitement going on so I thought I'd add a picture of what I'm wearing today while bumming around the house waiting for a call from Scheduling (ignore my house shoes/slippers!).  What I've realized is that the clothes I tend to reach for most are black, grey, white, blue or denim and that my sense of style is pretty casual although I try not to end up looking sloppy.  The fleece blazer/swing coat here is a departure from that colour scheme because of the orange stripe but I really like it because its comfy and more put-together than a hoody.  It's been great for travelling and I can even wear it at the office so we'll see if I start pulling it out of the closet more often.  I think this outfit is pretty typical for me on a day off.  If I was headed into the world I'd grab my black tote bag and black boots (if snow didn't force me into giant Sorels).

Outfit cost:
Jeans* $8
Fleece blazer* $7
Tshirt $6
Belt free (from work uniform, provided by employer)

*purchased secondhand