Monday, March 24, 2014

Just stopping by...

Oops!  Between flying and putting in time at the office things have been CRAZY around here so even when I've found a few minutes of downtime, admittedly, blogging was low on the priority list.

Unfortunately, I haven't really gotten much accomplished.  This is a full hour flying month so there hasn't been a lot of time to try and tackle many projects but I have done some of the things I've been trying to cross off the list:

  • I've gone snowboarding a few more times and although I still fall down almost constantly, I'm getting better.  I'm still terrible, believe me, but now I can turn and stop about a third of the time while before, I would fall if I even thought about turning.  
  • I managed to get my guest room painted.  I was trying to be mindful of spending and opted to go with a brand other than Benjamin Moore for the paint and I regret that decision now.  The colours are fine but the paint was a lot thinner than I'm used to so there are some spots where the paint ran (yes, I know, that also means I had too much paint on the roller but that doesn't happen with BM paints!!).  I still have some hooks, a mirror and some art to hang in the room but painting was the biggest job and that's done now.
  • I've continued de-cluttering around the house.  Every so often I'll see something and think "Yeah...that can go."  I'm actually really happy that I sorted through my clothes the other day because getting dressed is SO MUCH EASIER when I can see what I have.  It doesn't look like I'll be losing much, if any, weight so the items that are on notice are probably going to be making an exit but we'll see if I'm suddenly motivated to get really strict on my diet and exercise regime.
Today I had to help my parents out with rides to and from a medical clinic (don't worry, everyone's fine!!) and while I was waiting, I popped into the local Goodwill.  Not exactly the wisest thing to do when I'm trying to cut down on material things but I saw something I had been lusting after for probably a few years and decided I'd let myself get it.  

Ta DA!!
I really shouldn't be getting this excited over a cake stand.  

I've seen this style of stand in magazines many times.  I was very happy to see one and be able to snag it.  It wasn't as cheap as I'd have liked ($10) but I've never seen them in retail stores for less than twice that.  I also picked up a stainless steel colander (no picture because it's not exciting at all) to replace my plastic one.  The plastic one is still in great shape (and will either be sold at a garage sale or donated to a thrift store) but I've gotten a bit wary of using plastics in my kitchen and am hoping to slowly make the switch to other materials.

Anyways, I *had* to make some treats to put on the stand for its photo op.  These are Banana-Nut Oat Bran muffins, a recipe I found at "two peas & their pod".  The muffins turned out moist with a beautiful banana flavour.  I used corn syrup since I had some I wanted to use up but otherwise I followed the recipe.  I'd add cinnamon next time and probably throw in more walnuts but they are great as is.

Hopefully it won't be so long til my next post but until then, make every day count!


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Aiming for Minimalism: Cosmetics

Although some people who are trying to lead a more minimalist lifestyle might find it easier to simply purge their home of surplus items, my budget doesn't necessarily allow for that.  I suppose you could call my process "minimalism through attrition" as I've chosen to use up what I have that IS suitable and then, if replacement is necessary, I'll try to find a more practical version.  A perfect example of this is my cosmetics stash (please pardon the thrifted, repainted and dinged-up-over-time dresser that is being used as the backdrop).
I've been working on cutting my collection of makeup for some time now.  I think, at one point, I had four times what's pictured here.  I loved, LOVED buying makeup because of the promise it was going to make me beautiful!!!  Yet I still stuck to a few basic shades, feeling uncomfortable and not quite myself if I wore anything more extreme.  The first major cut involved hauling most of my makeup to the bar where I worked part-time as a waitress.  I showed the other girls the makeup and offered them whatever had been brought in.  We were all close and often wore each other's products anyways so it was a quick way to pass these products on to other people who might use them.  I've bought little in the way of makeup since then although some of the unopened packages I had at that time have finally been unsealed for use.

I'm still working on making further cuts/changes to the collection you see in the picture.  Here are my thoughts on my existing makeup:
  1. I use a mineral foundation and, very rarely, MAC concealer.  I'm on the fence about switching to a pressed powder type of mineral foundation simply because its a smaller package and easier to pack in my travel bag.
  2. Highlighters - I have pressed powder highlighter and a sample of highlighter by Benefit.  I like the simplicity of the powder but I *much* prefer the size of the Benefit sample.  I don't use it often (only on nights out or special occasions) so a small size is more than enough.
  3. Lip Glosses - I have 6 items that I lump into the lip gloss category although some of them are more like tinted moisturizers.  In the future, I'd like to keep choosing products that add colour and keep my lips from drying out and I only want two shades, a lighter one for more casual looks and a darker shade (for when I know I need to wear makeup but am feeling
  4. Lipsticks - I have 6 lipstick shades that I use and the really amusing thing is 3 of those shades are almost identical, a just-slightly-darker-than-my-lips pink (one is MAC, one is a Sephora long-lasting lipstick, and one is Rimmel but has more shimmer to it).  The other 3 shades are more dramatic; a dark berry shade, a shade which is aptly called "Wine" (which I LOVE and can't seem to find a similar shade to act as a replacement) and a bright red.  Ideally, I think I can eventually get this down to 3 or 4 shades.  I have 3 lip liners (one is AWOL from this pic) but once 2 of them are gone, should be able to stick with a neutral or "clear" lip liner.
  5. Blush - I have 3 blush compacts right now but 2 are very similar so I look forward to cutting this down to 2 shades; a rosy shade and a slightly warmer shade of blush (I choose my blush based on my planned lip and eye shadow).
  6. Eye shadows - I can wear fairly conservative/neutral makeup at both of my jobs without any problem so the nude shades of eye shadow I have, combined with a brown or black liner (why do I have 3?!?) are more than acceptable.  When I go out, I prefer a smokier eye so darker greys are helpful and the shimmery shades I have are used to dress up my "day" eyes when necessary.  If I had any really strong willpower this could probably be cut down to 3 shades but I'll be quite happy if I bring it down to 5.
I used to regularly fall into the trap of buying a set of new makeup whenever I had a special occasion.  Now I just grab the colours I'm comfortable with because I know I'll look good.  I'm hoping that by not buying additional makeup and replacing only the shades I love, that my makeup collection will be cut down and will someday, ideally, fit into a small makeup kit.  I'll take another picture of my makeup closer to summer as some of these items (notably the lipsticks/glosses) will likely be used up.


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Lent and Mindful Sacrifices

Although I'm not a practicing Christian I thought I'd try to observe Lent this year as its elements of sacrifice and introspection coincide nicely with the purging and simplifying I'm trying to do.  

So what am I going to sacrifice?
  • Restaurant meals (when I'm not flying).  Going hungry for a few minutes because I have to take time to cook really isn't THAT much of a sacrifice when you think of how many people in this world simply go hungry.
  • Mindless shopping.  I like to think I don't have a major issue with this but now that I'm trying to simplify my wardrobe and finish decorating parts of my house it could be very tempting to "just pick up a few things".
  • "Screen time" (TV/movies/social media/etc). I'm smirking as I type this since this blog is an excellent way to get stuck on the computer.  This includes using my phone to access these things but excludes work-related screen time or dedicated time for checking/paying bills.  I'm hoping to limit my time to an average of 1.5 hrs per day.  That seems like a lot of time to use up but it goes quickly so it will be quite challenging.
Wish me luck!!

As for today's activities...I've been sorting through my wardrobe.  Unfortunately, only about 15 items have made it to the definite sell/donate pile while about 40 items are on notice.  Due to my weight gain, I have a lot of duplication in my closet.  For example, I have multiple skirts but half of them are size 6 and half of them are size 8.  My deadline for deciding on those items is the Toot n' Holler community garage sale that takes place at the end of April.  If the items still don't fit, they have to go (I'll probably allow myself 10 "pardons" but that still means 30+ items will be eliminated).  I have yet to tackle shoes, purses, jackets and other accessories but it was tricky enough to go through the clothing, I thought I'd give myself a bit of a breather before digging further into my wardrobe.


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Feeling Overwhelmed

I have felt really overwhelmed lately.  I feel as if I'm working too much, that I've started too many projects and that I ultimately, I'm only treading water.  Its very discouraging.  This whole scenario was capped off by me *missing* a flight I was supposed to work this past Friday.  I was called by Scheduling, got off the phone and hopped into the shower, determined to get ready quickly instead of dragging myself around.  Dressed and ready, I headed into the kitchen to make breakfast and glancing at the clock, noted I had a lot more time than I thought.  I slowed my pace, happy that I didn't need to feel stressed before work.  I had so much time in fact, that I was able to read a book for a short while.  A friend texted me, I picked up my phone to read the message and my heart sank when I saw the time on my phone.  It was 9:45am and I needed to be AT the airport at 10:10 am.  The clock I had been looking at earlier was off by an hour.

I had to call Scheduling back and tell them there was no way I could make the flight.  This is a really, REALLY bad thing to do when on reserve (I'm supposed to be the person replacing the crew member who booked off due to illness).  I wanted to cry, missing a flight like that is NOT an indication that I'm becoming more organized.

I know that I need to get things under control again.  I'm tired of not really knowing where my money is going, living in a home where things are disorganized and generally just feeling overwhelmed.  Although I have a list of on-going projects on the right sidebar, I'm *really* going to focus on getting my budget back on track (it's not that I'm wildly overspending, rather I'm just not tracking my finances), getting my house decluttered and organizing my "paperwork" (the warranties, receipts, bills, tax info that seems to have just ended up in a shoebox instead of the files I have set up).  Unfortunately, I believe this means you'll be forced to read about my attempts to get these things under control!!