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#NoSpendNovember: Use Your Stash!

use your stash

Beauty products are one thing I easily spend too much money on. I’m guilty of buying a new shampoo, conditioner, or body lotion before my current one is empty. I also don’t know why I own so man lip glosses and lipsticks – I rarely wear either.

This month, I’m making a better effort to use my stash. It’s a good idea to go through your beauty stash every 6 months or so to weed out anything that’s expired, dried out, or otherwise not useable. Once you pare down to what’s still good and useful, you can find clever ways to use up what’s lingering in your beauty cabinet! Here are just a few tips to help you use what you have!

#NoSpendNovember: Tips to Use Your Stash!

Tip #1: Decant “almost empties” into travel-sized containers.

Many of us are gearing up for the holiday travel season, and that means getting your travel kit ready. Instead of buying all new travel products, use your stash! For only a few dollars, you can pick up a travel-friendly kit with bottles and containers you fill yourself. Some good items to decant into travel containers are shampoo/conditioner, body lotion, face moisturizer, toner, and foundation.

Also, if you hoard sheet masks like me, pop a couple in your travel kit – they are great to use on long flights! They are also a good reminder to practice some quiet self-care during your trip!

Tip #2: Put “almost empties” on display.

Instead of hiding away your “almost empties,” put them out on the bathroom counter so you can remember to use them up! Out of sight, out of mind is totally true for beauty products! Grab that bottle of toner you’re almost done with, and put away the new one until it’s needed.

Also, whenever you run out of something, check your cabinets before heading to the store! I have a bad habit of buying toothpaste before checking to see if I have one at home. At some point, I ended up with 4 unopened tubes of the stuff! Get into the habit of shopping your cabinets first to avoid over-buying things!

Tip #3: Gift things you’ve never used.

Okay, this piece of advice comes with a lot of restrictions, but you can still do it in some cases! If you have a lot of beauty products or samples you never opened, and they’re still in good condition, give them to family or friends! They can make great stocking stuffers, or put a bunch together in a cute basket for your teenage niece, makeup-obsessed sister, or brunch buddies!

Obviously, avoid giving away products you’ve already used, and anything that’s old/expired. Many of us bloggers get samples mailed to us year-round, and this is a great way to put them to good use!

Tip #4: Find new uses for old products!

This is especially important if you have products lingering around that didn’t work for you. Instead of tossing them out, consider if they could be used for something else! Here are just a few examples of how I’ve used beauty products in a new way:

  • Extra body lotion or conditioner makes a great shaving balm! Just apply a small layer over legs or underarms for a smoother shave, and moisturized skin afterwards!
  • Eye makeup remover (oil free) is great to keep around to clean leather handbags! I use eye makeup remover to get rid of blue streaks on my grey leather handbag left over from my jeans. It works amazingly well while leaving my bag in great condition.
  • Toners or facial mists make really good room sprays! Spritz them in pillowcases, bedsheets, bathrooms, or in your car (not while driving, of course)!
  • Lip colors can often pull double-duty as a cream blush or eye color. Dabbing face powder or blush onto lipstick creates a matte effect without having to buy a new matte lipstick!

So instead of heading over to Sephora…again…try using what you have around the house instead! You might find that if you use your stash, it will save you a ton of money this month!

Cleaning Up My Haircare Routine

clean_haircare_routine

As the year quickly winds down, I’m already starting to think about my 2018 goals. This year was all about healing and self-care, but I want next year to be more about taking action. I am already starting to make the transition to natural products, and for me, it all starts in the shower!

One thing I know I want to work toward next year is cleaning up my beauty cabinet, and it starts with a clean haircare routine. When Maple Holistics reached out to see if I wanted to try their Tea Tree Oil Shampoo, I was super excited.

My scalp needs a lot of extra love during the winter months, and this product has done the job already! This shampoo has already cleared my mild dandruff and a breakout from recently dying my hair. It smells divine, and even created a healing aromatherapy effect in the shower when I was congested from a cold! It does leave my hair a bit dry, so I’m looking forward to adding the Tea Tree Oil Conditioner to the mix soon.

When creating a clean haircare routine, I wanted to find products that were free of harsh chemicals but still effective. The shampoo is cruelty free and doesn’t contain parabens, GMOs, or gluten. It’s also perfectly safe to use for men, women, and kids! They also do more than just clean haircare – they have skincare products, lip balms, and some decadent bubble bath blends!

If you’d like to give Maple Holistics a try, you can sign up on their website for a free sample! It’s great that they do this, especially for people like me who are still new to clean haircare products!

#NoSpendNovember Challenge

#nospendnovember challenge

#NoSpendNovember Challenge

Why am I doing this?

Because I’m a glutton for punishment.

I’m just kidding – sort of.

Looking forward to the holidays, I always end up feeling a bit overwhelmed. There is so much do to, bake, see, and BUY. Between gifts, baking extra goodies, sending out holiday cards, parties, buying an extra pair of gloves (I lose mine all the time), and all the extra coffees while I’m out shopping, it adds up. There is also so much pressure to “keep up” with everyone else during the holidays.

I doubt I’m alone in this. Many of us feel financial fatigue come January, which is a terrible way to start off the new year. This year, I’m trying to cut out at least some of the holiday spending – especially in November. I find that if I only give myself a short window to holiday shop, I can’t go overboard.

What are the ground rules?

While it would be ideal to go fully no-waste, 100% no-spending this month, that’s not realistic for me. I need to eat, after all! So instead of saying “don’t spend any money at all,” I’ve set some ground rules for myself this month:

Stay off of my Amazon account

Amazon is the devil for impulse spending. It’s so easy to go on there to order more moisturizer, and end up with a $100 order of god-only-knows-what. I have to use Amazon for my job, but I’m determined not to log into my actual account, so it’s less tempting to shop while I should be working.

Unsubscribe From Marketing Emails

Another project I have set for this month is to clear out my inboxes of marketing-heavy emails. I’ve signed up for way too many newsletters and product affiliate email chains over the past year. Now my inbox is flooded with ads, coupons, and other super-tempting marketing messages. Instead of hopping on Nasty Gal to dream of clothes I’m 10 years too old to pull off, I gotta hit the unsubscribe button.

no Beauty-Related Purchases

You have enough of that shit, Heather. Use what you’ve got.

I know I’m not alone in this one, either. I don’t need a dozen different lipsticks – I barely wear it anyway. So for this month, I’m determined to use what I have and hopefully fall back in love with some old favorites. I also got some new samples this month to try out, and I’ll save those for days when I’m dying to go to Ulta!

Do More DIY Projects

I have a few sitting around the house I haven’t started yet. Instead of shopping online for the perfect pair of loafers, I plan to spend the month on getting things done around the house. This should be easy to pull off without spending any extra!

Sell Some of Your Shit

I signed up with ThredUp recently, and hope to donate/sell some of my summer clothes I didn’t wear this year. My hope is to use that money to update my winter wardrobe without spending a dime this month!

There are exceptions

There is no way I can survive November without spending any money. So to make things more manageable and realistic, I’m allowing myself a few exceptions:

  • One day each week, I get to have a coffee at my local cafe during my “work out of the house day.” Working at home every day is not good for my sanity, so I consider this a “work necessity.”
  • Limit “extra” grocery trips to once a week. Instead of going every other day for extra ingredients for dinner or whatever, I need to plan better so I don’t have to do this.
  • Black Friday / Cyber Monday is going to be a “cheat day” for me. I do plan to get a holiday gift list ready to go, so all I have to do is pop online and buy whatever I need to. No extra spending on myself – only for others!

What are my goals for #NoSpendNovember?

Taking on a no-spending challenge sounds daunting for me, but I hope it’ll feel worth it at the end! There are a few things I’m hoping to take away from this experience:

More Money at the end of the month (duh)

Of course, the idea behind this is to have a little extra money at the end of the month that I can put towards bills, holiday stuff, or just to toss in my savings account and leave it be. The idea is to be able to enjoy the holidays without worrying about my bank account so much.

Combatting boredom spending

Yeah…I go shopping when I’m bored. Sue me. This month I’m hoping to break the cycle of going out shopping when I’m bored or need a break. Working from home is great, but sometimes being cooped up at home for too long drives me nuts. So for this month, I will try to find no-cost alternatives to shopping when I’m dying for something to do. Look out for a post on that soon!

Make use of what I already have

I’m super guilty of wanting to buy things instead of looking to see if I already have them. Do I need another throw blanket? Candles? Another pretty notebook? No…I have plenty of that shit. I also have things in my closet that I don’t wear because I need to fix them, home decor projects I just need to get done, and more bottles of shampoo than is reasonable. Instead of going through a de-cluttering rampage in January, I want to use up what I have so there is less to deal with in the first place.

Whew! That’s a lot to take in for the coming month!

Come back here every Monday this month for some #NoSpendNovember challenge ideas! I’ll also be sharing my ideas on Instagram (check out for the hashtag #NoSpendNovember!)

Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites 10/13

Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash

Welcome to another edition of Friday Favorites!

Fall is (finally) in full swing here, complete with chilly temperatures and a lot of rain. It’s been a great week to snuggle up under a blanket with a good book and some tea. In fact, that’s my only real plan for this weekend.

Here is what I’ve been digging online this past week or two!

  • I’m not a big salad eater, but even this Fall Protein Power Salad looks like the perfect way to force some veggies into me this fall! (Hello Glow)
  • Another recipe I’m dying to try out is these Vegan Cheez Its. I’ve never made my own crackers before, and this recipe looks like the perfect snack to go with some hot apple cider! (Minimalist Baker)
  • If you’re looking to clean up your beauty routine, I suggest checking out The Detox Market. They have tons of great products that would make great gifts, and a monthly subscription box if you want to try something new each month!
  • I am on the hunt for my own vaporizer pen, and this rose gold version from Beboe is so pretty. Too bad they only sell them in California…sigh. Get on the rose gold weed pens, Washington!
  • Speaking of curling up with a good book, Wit & Delight’s list of uplifting and inspiring books is perfect for fall. I’ve got all 7 books on my library holds list!
  • This is the first Kickstarter campaign I’ve seriously considered giving to. Therese Shechter is making a documentary about the current issues surrounding women who choose not to have children. She talks to a couple living in the South who chose not to have kids, a woman whose fertility struggles led to a change of heart, and young women trying to build their lives without motherhood in mind. I think these are important stories to hear, especially now that our access to birth control and abortions hang in the balance. (Kickstarter)

I hope everyone has a great weekend, and I’ll be back next week with some new posts – if I don’t spend the whole weekend buried in a book!

Friday Favorites

friday favorites yoga

Welcome to another weekly edition of Friday favorites!

Man, it’s been a crazy week around here!

Summer finally decided to make an appearance, with temperatures well into the 90s all week. We’re also dealing with a smoke cloud over the Seattle area, thanks to a forest fire that started in Canada. Needless to say, I spent the last week cooped up inside hiding from either the heat or smoke!

Here are some things I enjoyed this week while hiding from the heat!

  • Free People wrote a great post this week on when to toss your green beauty products. If you recently cleaned up your beauty routine, it’s worth checking out to make sure your beauty products are still safe to use!
  • I’m in the process of re-organizing my closet, and Aimee Song’s closet tour was full of so much inspiration!
  • You know I love a good DIY face spray, and Orchid Grey came up with a quartz-charged rose spray I’d love to make! I’m not sure if I buy into the whole quartz thing, but the scent sounds divine!
  • I am currently cooking my way through Veganomicon, and recently made their Southwestern Corn Pudding. I’m definitely making this one again soon!
  • My husband’s succulent has exploded, and I’ve been shopping online for some small pots to plant all the little baby succulents. I am going to do my best not to buy, like, 10 of these adorable Japanese-style painted pots:

Aren’t the adorable?

Anyway, before I go down the rabbit hole on Amazon…I hope you all have a great weekend! I’m planning to maybe go to the beach if it’s not too hot. Otherwise, I’ll be in front of the air conditioner like everyone else in Seattle!

Welcome to August!

welcome to August

Welcome to August!

I really can’t believe it’s August already!

This summer seems to have flown by, and now I’m looking forward to autumn (though we have like, two months). I spent most of July working and trying to spend more time outside – though it wasn’t warm enough to get to the beach until this week!

August is such an “in-between” month. It’s still hot as hell outside (we’re looking at 100 degrees tomorrow!), but many are dreaming of pumpkin spiced lattes and fall sweaters. Kids are desperately trying to enjoy the last moments of summer break before heading back to school. Since there aren’t any major holidays coming up until Labor Day, it seems so much harder to get out and be social. It’s a weird month, to be honest.

So for August, I assume my posts will be a mix of both enjoying the summer and looking forward to fall. I’m already starting to dream up what my fall wardrobe is going to look like and updating my skincare for the cooler months. It’s also been tough to workout when it’s so hot outside, but I’ve been trying to get back into it.

Welcome back to the blog, and I hope you are as excited as I am to enjoy the summer and get ready for autumn – my favorite season in Seattle!

Friday Favorites…on a Monday!

friday favorites

Spring has really sprung around here! I’m excited to have more and more days like this in between the gray, gloomy Seattle rain.

In spite of the crappy weather, things around here have been super busy. I am in my annual spring cleaning mode and eyeballs-deep in applying for every teaching position I can find (it’s that time of year again). I’m also trying to get back on track with my reading goals after finally plowing through The Second Sex, which was the most challenging book I read so far this year. In the middle of all that, I manage to get outside for a run or hike now and then, too! All of this means I haven’t spent much time online, to be honest – so I put off posting a Friday Favorites a little longer than I had hoped.

So without further ado, here is what I enjoyed online over the past…few weeks or so. Hopefully soon I can get back on a regular schedule with these!

  • Here is a pretty accurate list of 5 industries millennials are slowly killing. I totally agree with all of it (though we really should consider bringing back the vacation!). (Cracked)
  • If you follow Chris Pratt on Instagram, you already know he started a #whatsmysnack craze (thanks to his recent meal-delivery service). Watching him attempt to say “cacao baobab” is just the best because, well, we’ve all been there! (Well+Good)
  • Even though I live in a much brighter apartment than I used to, growing plants is still a challenge with so little daily sunlight. Here are 9 plants that should survive super low light! (Gardenista)
  • If you are as mesmerized by gif recipes as I am, check out the Gif Recipes subreddit! Be careful, though – it’s easy to lose hours of your day on here! (Reddit)
  • You know I love a good peek into someone’s refrigerator! Check out this one from Mimi Kirk, a raw foodie in her 70s, to see how she stays healthy and happy! (The Chalkboard Mag)
  • If you are looking for ways to stay active in your community, check out Meg The Grand! She was one of my close friends in college, and it’s inspiring to hear all the ways she supports women in her community! She posts daily tasks people can do, some in the Chicago area, and some you can do from anywhere! (Meg The Grand)

I hope everyone is enjoying the start of spring, and I will be back next week. I have another long week of interviews, job applications, and cleaning to do!

Favorite Meditation Apps

favorite meditation apps

My whole adult life, I’ve struggled with being able to focus during the day and fall asleep at night. I sprint through my days, busy and anxious that I won’t fit enough in to feel good enough. At night, I often stay awake, mind busy with things I know I can’t control at the moment. Stress can be a good thing in small doses, but dealing with it for years on end has certainly taken its toll on my ability to relax and focus when I need to.

Enter meditation.

I admit that meditation was something I resisted trying for years. Something about it sounded… too difficult for me. Sitting quietly with my thoughts is fine, but to sit quietly without them? That seemed like too big of a challenge!

After years of struggling to think straight and sleep well, I decided it couldn’t hurt to try. As a beginner, I knew I couldn’t just reach zen on my own – so I sought out apps to get me started. Now that I’ve been at it almost daily for almost a year, I thought I’d share which apps I’ve been using to get control of my thoughts, and find a little bit of chill in the chaos!

My Favorite Meditation Apps

favorite meditation apps

Stop, Breathe & Think

(Free or Premium $9.99/month or $82.99/year)

This is the first app I downloaded, and I still go back to it from time to time. Stop, Breathe & Think works by first asking you to choose 5 emotions you’re feeling, and it will suggest a meditation for you. I liked that because, in the beginning, I had no idea which meditation would work best for me if I was happy, angry, tired, etc.

The free version has plenty of options to choose from, from guided meditations, yoga, and acupressure. They also have an unguided meditation option, where you can choose the length of time and bells to remind you of time. My only gripe is the meditations don’t include the option of background noise, which makes it hard to use when, say, there are roofers pounding on your ceiling. This one is perfect for an already quiet space.

I highly recommend this app when you’re just getting started. They have great guided meditations for beginners that don’t seem too daunting. You can also choose between short and longer meditations, so if you only have the time/patience for a few minutes at a time, you can totally do that!

favorite meditation apps

Calm

(Free or Premium $12.99/month or $59.99/year or $299 for life)

A blogger friend introduced me to this app a few years ago, when I needed ambient noise to listen to while grading papers. Their desktop version is perfect for people who need calming background noise while working.

I decided to add the app to my phone after I found Stop, Breathe & Think couldn’t drown out the outside construction noise at our prior apartment. Pairing this app with noise-canceling headphones did the trick, and I still use this app daily.

They have decent options for guided and unguided meditations in their free version, though not as many as the other app. In the premium version, they have individual meditations you can choose from, a daily meditation, or you can start a 7 or 21-day program. They also have unguided meditations, and several options dedicated specifically to sleep. I haven’t even cracked the surface of what they offer, and I love it so far!

This is a good option once you already have a set practice, you’re just looking for calming background sounds for your work day, or while you’re reading. I use the untimed meditation option when I’m reading to tune out the television or music, and it works like a charm!

If you’re looking for an easy and free way to start your meditation journey, I highly suggest both of these apps! They are easy to use, the meditations are easy to follow, and both are great free options!

Friday Favorites

(Timberlake Park in Issaquah, WA)

Happy Friday! It’s been a cloudy and messy week around here. One day, I saw snow, rain, hail, and sleet all in the span of about an hour! Spring can’t get here fast enough!

Here are a few things I enjoyed on the internet this week:

  • We can all do better when it comes to reducing waste in our lives. Darling magazine gave us 7 very simple ways to cut down on excess trash that anyone can do! (Darling Magazine)
  • If you’re looking for an amazing new wine tasting subscription service, check out Tasting Room. They ship you a “wine tasting” and you build your list from that! No need to get a babysitter, call an Uber, or get out of your pajamas! (Pop Dust)
  • GIRL – the ONLY prescription acne medication that worked for me as a teenager was Differin Gel, which from what I remember was expensive as hell. Well now I guess you can get Differin Gel over the counter! Might be giving this one a try again! (Caroline Hirons)
  • I’m thinking about making a few of these Himalayan salt candle diffusers for my bathroom! I have everything around the house except the salt! (Hello Glow)
  • NY Representative Grace Meng is on the warpath to make feminine hygiene products free for women in her state. Let’s hope this is the start of something great! (Well + Good)
  • While attending protests is a great way to show support for a cause, it’s just not safe or possible for everyone. This is a great video by Riley J. Dennis, explaining all the reasons people can’t get out, many of which I didn’t even think about! (Everyday Feminism)

What are your plans for the weekend? I’m determined to finish reading The Second Sex this weekend. It’s a much longer and more challenging read than I was expecting! We’ve also been binge watching The Great British Baking Show on Netflix. Maybe I’ll get the ol’ mixer out and play a little!

Have a great weekend!

Day Without a Woman

a_day_without_a_woman

In honor of #DayWithoutAWoman and International Women’s Day, I’ll be joining millions of women in taking the day off.

If you want to participate today, you can do any or all of the following:

  • Take the day off from paid and unpaid labor if you can
  • Avoid shopping for today (except for small women and minorty owned businesses!)
  • Wear red in solidarity with others who are also participating

I plan to participate today by staying home, drinking lots of tea, reading Bad Feminist, and writing to my local politicians. It should be a relaxing solo day of action and reflection.

I also plan to take (most of) the day off from the internet and television as well. For me, part of today is also to take a day off from the media coverage of our current president. It stresses me out, and I’d rather spend today focusing on what’s going on in my own community for a day.

I hope you all find some way to participate in #DayWithoutAWoman in your own way. Remember to take care of yourselves, and do what works for you!

If you want to learn more, check out the Women’s March website here:

https://www.womensmarch.com/womensday/