Summer Beauty Cleanout

Summer is coming to a close, and our September magazines are already telling us what to buy for fall. As seasons change, it’s always a good idea to do a summer beauty cleanout. This is a great time to go through our beauty arsenal, noting what we’d love to keep, what needs to go, and what to stock up on for the future.

My beauty stash isn’t nearly as large as others, but I still need to take stock to make sure the products I have are safe, loved, and useful. It also keeps me from buying things I don’t need, which is a huge bonus!

Here are 5 tips I use to do my own summer beauty cleanout each year. Whether you have a small stash like me, or a giant one, this should be easy to do in an afternoon!

Summer Beauty Cleanout

summer beauty cleanout

1: Get it all out

I find that when cleaning, it’s best to just get it all in one place to start. This helps you see what you have and take note of how you feel about it. Do you feel okay with how much you have? Overwhelmed? Underwhelmed? If you are overwhelmed with how much you have, it’s a good sign that it’s time to pare down.

Before you begin, grab a notepad and pen to take notes of what to buy/replace when you’re done. I never remember what I tossed out, so I always do this!

My beauty products were stored in my bathroom, office and bedroom. Once I got it all out and looked at it, I realized I shouldn’t have it divided among 3 rooms. There isn’t that much, and I don’t know why it was spread out all over the apartment.

My goal for this project became simple – try to get everything in one room!

summer beauty cleanout

2: Check expiration dates

The first thing you should do to start your summer beauty cleanout is to grab everything with an expiration date and check that it’s still good. It’s also good to go through your medicine cabinet and travel kits too. Anything that’s past it’s prime, toss it – no excuses – and jot down anything that needs replaced!

For anything without an expiration date, you can check out this handy guide for how long to keep common beauty and makeup products.

summer beauty cleanout

3: Be brutal with makeup

Many women I know agree that makeup is tough to pare down. We keep things well beyond their shelf life, buy duplicates of products over and over, and keep things we don’t like. Being ruthless with your makeup stash will ensure your products are safe, effective, and will actually get used.

My biggest issue with makeup is that I buy duplicates. Do I need two bronzers that are basically the same? No – especially since I know the Sephora one is at least 4 years old. I also got rid of all the nubs of eyeliner I was holding on to. I bought new ones months ago, but never replaced them because the nubs still had product in them. It felt wasteful to just throw them out – until I noticed I kept stabbing my eyes every time I tried to use them.

Once I pared down my makeup, I took notes on what needed replaced, and some ideas of things to freshen up my makeup routine for fall.

summer beauty cleanout

4: Toss / Keep (and what to do with each)

Once you’ve gone through everything, now you have to deal with the “toss” pile. Do you throw it all out? Give some of it away? Sell it? Here are some simple rules for how to get rid of things:

  • Throw away anything that’s past its expiration date – no exceptions!
  • Throw away any used makeup that didn’t make the cut. I know it’s tempting to give it away to friends or family, but it’s too risky – especially if the product is old and/or used.
  • If you have any makeup that was never (and I mean never ever) used, and it’s still relatively new, see if you have a friend you can give it to. If not, toss it.
  • Don’t sell makeup online. I know some people do that, but it just seems…shady to me.
  • For those almost-empty bottles of lotion, shampoo, soap, etc.: Decant them into travel-sized bottles and toss into your travel kit! Why spend money on a travel-sized bottle of shampoo when you have 2 ounces of it sitting in a bottle in the back of your bathroom sink?

After doing my summer beauty cleanout, I was also left with a small box of “things to use later.” It’s a great place to keep things that I haven’t used in a while, but should work on finishing before buying new stuff. Keep it under the sink so you don’t forget about it!

summer beauty cleanout

5: Stock up on essentials

The last thing to do is easy – go shopping! Take your notes of what to replace or stock up on, and head on out! Fall is a great time to stock up on essentials like cotton pads, cotton swabs, sunscreen (lots of end-of-summer sales!), and other basics. With everyone heading back to school, or moving off to college, stores are having crazy sales right now. I hit up my local Target and grabbed a few things I knew I’d need soon, and a few things just for fun!

I met my goal of getting all my beauty products in one room, and feel more confident that nothing left will go to waste. I’m also looking forward to stocking up on some new fall makeup soon too, whenever it’s not 90 degrees out anymore!

Summer Hiking

Summer Hiking

Summer hiking spots (clockwise from top-left):
Lewis Creek Park / Cougar Mountain / Cougar Mountain / Timberlake Park

Hiking this summer has been…sporadic at best. The weather was either extremely rainy or extremely hot – neither of which make for great hikes. I was looking forward to August, when we usually get a break from the extreme weather…but that didn’t happen this year!

At the beginning of August, I stayed near home because every time I went out, it would start pouring down rain. I don’t mind a little rain while I’m outside, but a crazy deluge isn’t fun. As the month dragged on, it got warmer – a lot warmer. We are seeing temperatures well into the 90s, so any hiking I do now has to be early in the morning (if at all).

In my summer hiking adventures, I managed to check out a few new parks. Timberlake Park was my most recent trek, and it was the perfect, flat loop out to Lake Sammamish that I need when I’m looking for an easy morning run (yes, I sometimes run…I know, crazy me). The views are amazing, and it’s only a few minutes from home. I also mentioned a few places I checked out earlier in the summer in my “Chasing Views” post if you want to see more!

I haven’t gotten out as often as I’d like to, but isn’t that always the case? I’m hoping things will chill out (literally and figuratively) in September. I also want to start going to some new places, and revisit some old favorites I went to last fall. Let’s hope the weather cooperates!

Where have you been hiking lately? Any great places to try out this fall?

Reading Lately

Reading Lately

This has been a slow summer for reading. I’ve torn through several magazines, cookbooks, and home decor books, but I haven’t read a lot of books. I’m still trying to get through The Omnivore’s Dilemma too. It’s not the kind of book I can just chew through – it’s graduate-school level academic, which even today still feels like homework.

I have managed to read a few things I found noteworthy, though:

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

I just got done reading this one last night. I originally bought it to take with me to Portland in May, but didn’t get around to reading it until last week. It’s the first fictional book I’ve read in a long time, but it came strongly recommended, so I gave it a shot. It was a great, quick read, and had a strong message about finding your path in life and deciding what’s important to you. While I’m not usually into those kinds of stories, this one was so well done I really did take a lot of lessons from it.

Women, Work & the Art of Savoir Faire by Mireille Guiliano

I’ve been a fan of Guiliano’s work since French Girls Don’t Get Fat, and I don’t know how I managed to miss reading this until now! I loved reading about her path to a successful career, balancing life and work, and how to be a great leader in the workplace. She’s a great inspiration to those of us who want great careers, but also want to help others have great careers too.

The Year of the Work by Kayley Vandenberg

Now, I know this isn’t a typical “book.” A few months ago, I subscribed to Kayley’s monthly letters. Each month has a different theme, and delve into a more personal side than we’ve seen from her online writing. I make a point of taking her letters somewhere special to me each month – last month, I ended up at my favorite beach. I haven’t felt confident enough to write her back yet (still kind of fan-girling out a little), but I will whenever I muster up the balls. It’s a great throwback to the old days of having pen pals, and I’m looking forward to my next letter very soon!

*****

I have a few books waiting on my shelf next…but for now, I’ve gotta get myself through that Pollan book before I forget what it’s all about!

July on Instagram

July on Instagram

Holy shit, July flew by quickly this year!

I started out the month doing what I spent most of June doing – hanging out by myself. The husband was insanely busy at work, either working late or going in super early. For the second year in a row, I wound up alone watching fireworks on the 4th. One more year, and I’ll consider it a tradition!

One reason I didn’t blog much last month is that some family came in to visit. It was…mostly stressful, to be honest. I spent much of the week feeling like a chauffeur/house mom – and don’t get me started on how long it took me to clean the place after they left. Boys are gross. Grown men aren’t much better. Sure, there were some fun moments – but I don’t remember them yet. Ask me again in a few months, and I might be over the trauma to come up with something. 

After going through my Instagram photos from last month, I also realized I spent much of the month cooking. I’ve gotten into the whole “meal prep” thing. Unfortunately, I am starting to find it’s more work than I wanted to deal with. Meal prepping for a family of 5 is probably worth it – meal prepping for 2 people isn’t. The weather was so hot that we ended up eating salads most nights anyway.

Speaking of hot weather, I did manage to make it to the beach once this summer! I’ve been trying to find unique and chill places to read my blogger buddy Kayley’s “The Year of the Work” letters, and I attempted to do that at the beach in July. Instead, I ran into an old college friend and spent the afternoon catching up with him. It was just what I needed to wrap up a long month of solitude! Hopefully we can keep in touch, since he’s the only person I know out here who isn’t family!

I haven’t really made a plan for posting in August, so this month will be more “flying by the seat of my pants.” I miss blogging a bit, but man it’s hard to get back into the habit!

Enjoy the last remaining weeks of summer, and start working on your Pumpkin Spice Latte recipes!

Chasing Views

Chasing Views

(Clockwise from top-left: Twin Falls, Rattlesnake Ridge, Poo Poo Point, Snoqualmie Falls)

“I go to nature to be soothed and healed,
and to have my senses put in order.”
~John Burroughs

Hiking lately has looked a lot different for me. Instead of heading out on the same old trails, I am exploring more challenging trips. Aside from the killer views, I learned a few things about myself along the way:

I’m slow. Like, really slow.

As a solo hiker, I thought I was an average hiker in terms of speed. As it turns out, I’m not. I’m embarrassingly slow. Sometimes I’m slow because I’m not ready to handle the trek (as was the case with Poo Poo Point), and other times it’s because I would rather stop and enjoy the view (as was the case with Twin Falls). I’m learning that racing to the top is not my style. I’d rather wander and see things than race to the top with my head down.

I’m too hard on myself.

I hiked up 3 mountains this year, yet only summited 2 – and that one I didn’t summit still pisses me off. I got a bit lost, a bit tired, and had to give up. I know that I should appreciate what I accomplish, and not focus on what I didn’t. I also know it was an important lesson to listen to my body instead of risking getting hurt or really lost. It still makes me mad that I can’t do everything I want to do, but I’m getting better about it.

Hiking is great therapy.

Whenever life sucks donkey balls, I like to head outside. It is a great way for me to get whatever is bothering me out of my system, and to physically push myself to exhaustion. It’s a great outlet when I need one. However, I worry sometimes that I’ll start associating hiking with being upset or angry because that seems to be the only times I do it now. I did that with bike riding in Ohio, and grew to dislike it somewhat. Guess that’s something I need to deal with.

Heights bother me now.

When hiking Rattlesnake Ridge with a small group recently, I discovered one reason I’m a slow hiker might be a mild case of vertigo. After about a 1,500 foot climb, I found myself dizzy, out of breath, and nauseated – which scared the crap out of me. Since then, I’ve done a few 1,000ft+ climbs and the same thing happens each time. I have done much longer hikes with shorter ascents that don’t do this to me, which is why I think it might be vertigo and not just an in/out of shape thing. Maybe this flat-land Ohio girl isn’t meant to climb mountains? If you’re a seasoned hiker and have any ideas of how to help, I’m all ears!

The views are always worth it. Always.

Even if it takes me forever, I’m angry with the world around me, and I’m dizzy as fuck, it’s always a great feeling to make it to my destination. Being rewarded with a great mountaintop view or a beautiful waterfall is worth the shit I put up with to get there. It’s also a consolation to know the trip back will be easier (and usually downhill)!

Stuck

Untitled

Today, I feel stuck.

With the senseless murders of Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, and the (as of now) 5 police officers killed in Dallas, it’s been a tough week. We are stuck between feeling angry and disgusted with police brutality while also finding space in our hearts for the officers injured and killed in Dallas who were doing their job to give people a safe space to protest.

Let’s just get it out there – I feel stuck because I’m white.

There is nothing I can say (or not say) that won’t be met with hate and anger on some level. I can’t say that I’m angry and disappointed without being accused of seeking attention, being ignorant, or straight up lying. I also can’t stay quiet and reflect on what happened because those very same people will say that it’s because I’m a racist asshole. No matter what I do, the world thinks I’m stupid, ignorant, privileged, lacking perspective, and rude. I know that I’m not, but man does no one want to hear a white woman say that right now….

I don’t believe the people who spew this kind of hateful shit online truly mean it. We’re all angry and scared right now, and when you mix that with the internet – well, you know how people get.

If it were up to me, I’d tell everyone to take the weekend off of social media, leave the fake-ass hashtags alone, and sit with your own mind for a minute. Figure out how YOU feel about all of this – not what everyone else is telling you to feel. You might find hate and anger is just the beginning.

It’s easy to just say I’m angry. Anger is easy – it’s why we usually go there first. It’s harder to admit that these shootings make me feel embarrassed and disappointed. It makes me sad for all those families whose children have been gunned down by the very police they were raised to believe are trustworthy, respectable people who will always do the right thing. I also makes me sad for those officers who are trustworthy, respectable people who do the right thing. Odds are, you even know who those officers are – and right now, they are just as scared and frustrated as you.

I hope that with time, everyone cools off and gets back to what’s important. I hope that we can find it in our hearts and minds to grieve and protest loudly with grace and respect, rather than violence and rage. I hope that we find an officer in our community who is doing great things and tell them we appreciate what they do. I hope that we take action to write our local government to express our anger and sadness over what happened, and push for change.

I hope that even if our anger fades, we stay vigilant. It’s all we really have.

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July!

(Last year’s fireworks in Lake Sammamish, WA)

Happy 4th of July!

I hope everyone is having a great day so far!

It’s a cold and cloudy day out here, so I’m not sure if we’ll make it out for fireworks tonight. If we do, it’ll be the first time I have to wear a coat to watch fireworks! Even though it’s going to be freezing, I’ll take it over the 90+ degree day we had last year!

Stay safe, have fun, and all of you sweating it out on the East Coast…drink some rosé and soak up the sun a little extra for me!

 

Happy Blogiversary!

Happy Blogiversary

Happy Blogiversary!

Today is Afternoon Glow’s 1 year blogiversary! I almost forgot about it completely, to be honest. I’ve been so busy lately with job hunting, blog planning, and doing about a zillion loads of laundry (does it ever end?). To celebrate the occasion, I’m sitting in my new favorite coffee shop and reflecting on the past year.

The blog started out as a space for me to share everything going on with my life. It’s included posts about cooking, home decor, beauty, hiking, and the occasional “reflective rant.” I worked with amazing brands, was featured on a few different sites, and made connections with people that will hopefully stick around for years to come. I had insanely inspiring runs mixed with weeks  of silence. There are things on here that I’m proud of, and some that I’m not. While I sit here and look back on it all, though, I’m more proud than not!

I’m looking forward to sitting down soon and narrowing down the blog’s focus, and figuring out what I want to accomplish (besides free stuff…though I’d hardly turn it down). I am inspired by my usual online haunts, and some of the amazing things they’re doing in the online and offline lives – and I want to join in the fun! This next year on Afternoon Glow is going to be a big one…I can feel it.

Hope everyone has a great weekend, and a safe and amazing 4th of July! I don’t have any plans yet, but I’m sure it’ll involve a trip to the beach for some fireworks!

 

Coming Back, Moving On

Twin Falls, WA

Hiking in Twin Falls, WA

Welcome back.

These past two months have been…enlightening. I should start off by saying that I had no intention of taking this long off from the blog. Time got away from me a bit.

It’s not that I haven’t been working on the blog – I’ve just been working on things that you can’t necessarily see (yet) or won’t ever see. I’m trying to figure out a blog redesign, which for my old-fart brain has been tough. Learning how to code has been the worst experience because, for some reason, I just can’t. I’ve never had a problem learning new things before, and it bothers me like crazy that no matter what I do, this shit still makes no sense to me. I could learn to speak fluent Russian faster than I could learn even the most basic html. So for now, the site will stay how it is until I can figure this shit out (or figure out a way around it, or find the money to pay someone else to do it for me…haha).

Failed Posts Collage

A lovely collage of photos I’ve taken for posts I’m never writing…

The other reason I haven’t posted for two months is that I felt incredibly uninspired to write the posts I’d been working on in April and May. I have hundreds of photos like the ones above that will probably never make it to the blog, and posts I’ve trashed after they were already done because I didn’t like how they turned out. Sometimes, you can start out with a good idea and it just doesn’t work – and for some reason, every post I worked on in May came out that way, so I scrapped them all. Having writer’s block would have been a better use of my time, to be honest.

So where do I go from here?

I’m going to let go of the 5-day posting schedule, and post whenever I feel like it. In addition to that, I want to mix in more personal posts with the usual “Top 5 Places To Drink Rosé” types of posts (note to self: write a post where I get to drink rosé in 5 different places). While I understand that might mean the blog’s focus will change a bit, I’m not happy with only writing things I think are “fluff” pieces – I have more to say than that.

I’ve also spent time lately getting more involved in the blogging community, and trying to form better connections with others in the same boat. A lot of bloggers have written about feeling stuck or uninspired lately, and sometimes it’s nice to cheer each other on for a change. There are amazing things happening out there, but sometimes it’s hard to see that when you’re stuck on your computer editing the hundredth hiking photo into submission.

I’m also considering starting a letter-writing club of some kind – like a pen pal program for bloggers. So many of us got our love for writing blogs from being pen pals as kids, and I think it would be cool to interact with other bloggers on paper, rather than always online. I miss that sometimes – and getting mail that isn’t bills is always welcome!

Anyway, before I go insane and keep writing for another hour, I should go.

I’ve got work to do.

Friday Favorites (with a twist)

Friday Favorites

It’s been a rough week.

Last week, I shared with you my feelings about the relationship between authenticity and audience as a blogger (click the link to read more). It was one of those rare moments where I finally felt comfortable with myself, and trusting of you, to share something a little more personal. After not getting the best response afterward, and add to that some major allergy headaches, it’s been a long path to get to Friday.

So instead of sharing my favorite links from the internet this week, I thought I would do something different. Today, I share with you a few quotes from some of my favorite bloggers who are fighting tooth and nail to keep things real around here:

“Shame on me for giving someone else that power. Shame on me for allowing some hypocritical jerk to make me question a decision I have not doubted for ONE SECOND since Henry was conceived…Should I stop sharing as much personal stuff to protect myself? Maybe.  But nothing truly great has ever happened from being cautious and scared off by criticism.”
~Erin Gates

“I’m the daughter of loving parents, Chris and Elaine, I’m a blogger, a Southerner, a hopeless lover of animals, patterns and anything shiny- and I’m also gay. That fact may make no difference to some of you reading, but being able to be 100% myself here means the world to me.”
~Grace Bonney

  • Whenever I think of an example of the risk of opening up to our audience, I think of Grace Bonney’s post in 2013 where she came out to her readers. It takes a lot of strength to take that leap – even more so when you realize she was potentially alienating herself from the very readers who help keep her blog (and business) up and running.

“My purpose is to share and to connect with you, those that choose to come here and read it. And damn, I’m lucky to be able to say I can do that. I would fear the day I’m not allowed to express myself the way I do now because someone told me it wasn’t “brand-friendly.” 

So, don’t conform. 
Don’t seek acceptance in the dark.
Don’t look for approval in every move you make. ”
~Christina Topacio

  • Christina, aka Profresh Style, has often written about her life unabashedly and candidly for her readers – offended be damned. Her post, “Conformity Is For The Stupid” is one I refer back to from time to time when I need a reminder of why we all got into this in the first place. That, and we share a birthday – how cool is that?

“To be honest, it’s hard to put into words; clean, sparkling words that live on blogs. Especially, especially on a style blog. I’ve wanted to share so many times but fear stops me. “Shut up and wear clothes” it says…Maybe it’s not about the clothes that bring you here (meh, or maybe it is) but maybe it’s about life. Everyone has a story and maybe you just want to hear mine.”
~Kendi Skeen 

  • Kendi Skeen of Kendi Everyday is one of the first bloggers I followed. I appreciate her writing about her history with anxiety and depression, and how it affects her life now. She’s also open about the struggle to be honest with readers and maintain a fashion-based blog, which are not always known for praising openness.

“…I just want to mention that in today’s final hours I’m making the choice not to label it as a “bad day”. It’s served as a reminder to accept these unexpected challenges as a motivation to keep fighting and to appreciate the encouraging people in my life who cherish my investment and never fail to give back.”
~Kayley Vandenberg

  • Kayley Vandenberg of That’s Your Gold (formerly Sidewalk Ready) is another blogger I’ve been following for years. She’s unabashedly honest about her feelings, love, and life – and has been an inspiration for me over the years to share, even when it hurts. Maybe it’s the midwestern connection (we both grew up in MI), but I’ve always come back to her blog, even after she or I have been away for a while.

I genuinely hope that whether you like the blog or not, you have a great weekend. 

I, for one, will hopefully spend my weekend outside, among the trees (if my allergies aren’t too bad), or near the water, trying to let go of the previous week while looking ahead to the next.