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My summer makeup routine is fairly simple. I am not a ‘product’ person. I'm not often compelled to try every new ‘it’ item that hits the shelves. I’m slow to add a product to my line-up and when I do, it’s usually already a cult favorite. I’m certainly not an early adopter when it comes to cosmetics. As a result, this post might be old news to you. If so, please feel free to comment below with your favorites. I love to learn about what I'm missing!
If you're still with me and wondering what’s in my bag...
Check out my current faves!
1. Nars -The Multiple in Portofino or Orgasm
These blush sticks are incredible! This has been a constant in my bag for years! I’ve used several different shades, all are good. These two are my favorites! Blendable, long-lasting and so natural. Great for summer heat!
2. YSL- Touche Eclat highlighter (used as undereye concealer)
This product has a cult following, for sure. And with good reason. It brightens and lightens without being heavy. No creasing or caking. Again, this is a staple in my bag. I use shade 2.5...have the sales team help you pick your perfect color.
3. Laura Mercier- Caviar Eye Shadow Pencil - in Rosegold
I just tried this eye shadow for the first time on my recent trip to Mexico. It’s shimmery and glides on with ease. This stuff stays put forever...even without any lid prep product. All of the shades contain shimmer...they look very sparkly on the hand...much less so on the eyelid. I also tried Bobbi Brown’s version- Long Wear Cream Shadow Stick - thinking I wanted something more matte. In the end, I felt the shimmer of the Laura Mercier pencil was prettier on me...better for hiding lines and sagging:-)
4. L’Oreal Voluminous Volume Building Mascara- in Black
I’ve always preferred mascaras from the drugstore. I feel there are many good quality, inexpensive brands available. Spending less on mascara allows me to spend more on my other cosmetics.
5. Stila- Smudge Stick Waterproof Eye Liner
I’ve used this eyeliner for about a year. The color I wear is called Lionfish. It's dark brown with flecks of gold. I love it! It’s self-sharpening and stays put once it’s applied. Goes on in a clean line and can be worn as a liner or smudged for a softer look. Lots of incredible colors!
6. Laura Mercier- Tinted Moisturizer
This is another product I’ve been using for years! It’s the perfect consistency for sheer coverage. The shade I use is Blush. It contains sunscreen and doesn’t ever irritate my skin. When it’s really hot, I often I skip this product and just apply sunscreen before using the other products. Cleaner skin just seem to feel cooler.
I actually use all of these products year round, but they are especially great in the summer when warmer weather makes it more of a challenge to keep makeup on my face:-)
Don't miss a single summer update!
I know, I didn't mention a lip product. That's because I don't have one I really love right now. I'd welcome your suggestions. I like glosses and simple lipsticks...nothing that requires a mirror:-)
Please share what’s in your makeup bag!
Questions? Just ask firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm so glad you're following along. Huge thanks for being here!
I recently received an email from a reader. She openly and honestly shared that she feels she's being 'strangled by the clutter of the past'. At times in my life, I have felt the exact same way. I’ve been completely stuck in the clutter. Unable to move forward and utterly overwhelmed by all of my stuff! After a decade spent working in client’s homes and closets, I’ve come to realize that this is a very common issue...and an area where we could all use a bit of encouragement. I replied to the reader’s email privately, but wanted to share my thoughts here. I hope this post helps you let go of the stuff that might be holding you back.
The reader wrote about having 'strong sentimental attachments'. I understand! In the past, I struggled a lot with letting things go. I saved every ticket stub, dried any special flowers, held onto old favorite articles of clothing, clung to past issues of magazines. I kept anything that I felt sparked a memory that I feared I’d lose if I let go of the item.
Here's one of the most important things I've learned...
It's the first real round of purging that's the hardest.
I can honestly say that once I started parting with things, letting go became much easier.
Every single client I’ve worked with has felt same way. I regularly receive emails after helping a client with a closet cleanse. Each and every email contains thoughts like this...
”Now I’m motivated to attack my entire house!”
“I find myself decluttering a little each day, all over my house”
“I feel like I can breath again...I’m on a roll to get rid of the stuff”.
Note: If you feel you have a serious problem with hoarding, I strongly suggest you seek professional help. There are people trained to help hoarders learn to let go safely and begin to heal.
Moving has usually been my best catalyst for getting rid of stuff. In the packing process I’d realize that some items had been in boxes in our basement for years...never used or even opened. I knew letting some of those things go would make the move easier. When we moved across the country, I was fairly ruthless. I knew I'd be paying to move things I really didn't need and wasn't using. I carefully sorted and discarded and saved.
I honestly have never missed any of the things I let go.
Are you at the breaking point?
If you’ve had it with the clutter and you’re ready to begin a serious purge, I suggest purging like you're moving.
Donate or sell anything that still has use. Making a bit of cash from unused pieces is a nice trade-off for letting them go. I always use Craigslist for selling things. I've had only really great experiences.
Recycle or trash the rest.
Try to remember...
The memory is in your mind, not in your stuff.
I know a couple whose home was damaged in the terrible flooding in Boulder, Colorado in September of 2013. They were in the process of renovating their home. During the reno they were staying in a small apartment nearby and most of their belongings were being stored in the basement of their house. The flood filled the basement with muddy water.
Literally, it filled the basement. The contents of that space was completely ruined. Everything they considered sentimental, important, or valuable was gone.
This truly opened my eyes to the fact that our stuff really doesn't define us. These friends have since finished their home and are slowly collecting new treasures that spark joy for them.
Imagine losing everything and still being okay...still holding your special memories inside.
Realize that it’s really just ‘stuff’.
In my own experience, the process and aftermath of letting go of things I don't use or love...is so freeing that it's worth the risk of not having those items in my possession any longer.
I have never regretted letting something go. Anything I've needed again in the future has been easy (and inexpensive) to replace. I no longer save things 'just in case'. That's big for me.
I've discovered that 'just in case' rarely ever happens...and holding on to all the stuff simply clutters our minds and our homes while we are waiting for 'that day' to arrive.
If a big purge is just too scary, then I suggest that you start small.
Tackle one area of your home first...an area that's not sentimental. The rush from purging is awesome!
The space you create in your home from letting things go will open up incredible space in your mind and in your life.
And it feels amazing!
Here are my tips for letting go of specific types of clutter and stuff….
If you have several items that represent the same memory, save only one. Let the rest go.
I knew I was finished having babies, but the tiny clothing still made me happy and sentimental. I selected one favorite baby outfit for each of my three kids. The three outfits are hanging on small hangers in my laundry room. I smile every time I see them:-)
Take photos of items that you love. I had very fond memories of a few pieces of maternity clothing and some kid toys. I took photos of the items and then donated them...figuring someone else would love having them as much as I did.
Would you want someone to keep a gift they received from you if it didn’t bring them joy? Forget the guilt. Let it go. Give those gifts away...regift them or donate them. Someone else will enjoy having them...it doesn’t have to be you!
One episode of Antique Roadshow will have you saving every old thing under your roof. Unless you buy and sell antiques, plan to attend the Roadshow in the next six months or are moving to a new house where you’ll actually use all of those ‘saved’ pieces…get rid of the old stuff.
Like many young couples, early in our marriage, my husband and I couldn’t really afford to buy all new furniture. During this time we gladly and gratefully accepted any and all donations that came our way. We made the most of the gently used pieces and remained thankful for each item.
Years later, we took a look around our home and realized that our style wasn’t being reflected authentically. We didn’t feel joy from the pieces that surrounded us. We decided to let some things go. I put my first post on Craigslist...a hutch and sideboard that had belonged to my parents. I had a very strong sentimental attachment to the pieces, but the style wasn’t really ‘me’. The couple who purchased the pieces was thrilled with their find! I was happy the furniture had found a new home.
We began to list and sell everything that didn’t feel like us. Slowly we started to purchase furniture that fit our lifestyle, our taste and our budget.
What a difference it makes to dwell with items we truly love!
If one is good, more must be better! Not so. Decide how many of something you actually need. Build in a tiny cushion of ‘what if’ and let the rest go. For a while I had a very large collection of Ball mason jars that we used for drinking glasses. I envisioned hosting a huge party and all of the guests drinking out of these jars. Reality is...I’m not currently hosting big events and storing the jars was stressing me out. I saved enough for my family plus a few extras for company. Plenty.
Being 'strangled by the clutter of the past' is such a true (and sad) statement. It's probably time for you to let the excess go!
I really believe that you will feel much lighter and happier without all of the extra stuff! Clutter creates stress every single day!
Best of luck with the process. Be gentle with yourself.
It took years to accumulate all of the stuff.
Change takes time...
Please feel free to reach out with comments, questions or suggestions. Let's be sure to recognize that we all have our own issues, each journey is unique and being supportive of one another can really go a long way.
Thanks for being here.
I think I’ve finally reached the end of an era. Over the past 11 months, something miraculous has happened at my house. I didn’t notice this interesting change until I stepped into the storage area in our basement recently. There I discovered an enormous pile of unused storage containers. This pile contains baskets and bin, boxes and tubs. They are made of plastic or wicker, metal or cardboard. These catch-alls are varied in size and in color...and what makes them so remarkable is that they are all EMPTY!
Now, let me backtrack a bit. I have always had a thing for containers. They have lured me and wooed me at all stages of my life.
College dorm room? How many milk crates can a girl have?
First house? I don’t even know where to start, I need every container I see!
Baby’s nursery? Oh, I can’t even! Those precious containers for all that sweet baby stuff!
Playrooms? Pantries? Need bins? Yes, please!
Just typing about containers is making me smile:-)
I love to create systems and design storage plans. I can find a clever use for a container of any size or shape. I love building shelves and filling them with bins! I love my label maker.
In general, I'm a very organized person...but I fell into the extremely common trap of organizing my clutter instead of removing it from my life!
It took me way too long to realize this simple fact. Like decades too long.
But, instead of beating myself up about it...I’m just thankful to have finally arrived in this new place. I am truly a new girl when it comes to containers and stuff.
I must give credit where credit is due…
All of my neglected containers would still be full of stuff and I probably would have purchased lots of new containers, as well...if not for Marie Kondo’s amazing little book- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
It’s been almost a year since I first read this book and implemented some major changes in the way I tidy and store things. More importantly, I’ve changed what I keep.
If you’ve read the book then you know that Ms. Kondo’s key message is ‘Does it spark joy?’.
Last year, my kids and I spent a few weeks KonMari’ing our house. As a result of decluttering our home and getting rid of all things that don’t spark joy, I was left with a whole lot of empty containers. I didn’t really imagine that they would remain empty for an entire year!
I saved them because I was certain we would need them in the near future. I broke the rule and saved them ‘just in case’.
Don’t buy more containers as a way to organize your life.
Purge your stuff and you’ll definitely need fewer containers. It you have less stuff there won’t be as much to put somewhere. This step is where the magic happens. This is why Kondo’s tidying methods work so well. If you don’t have stuff...it can’t be cluttering your life. I have a post about letting go of things...coming next week!
To start, use things you already have on hand- shoe boxes and their lids, empty shipping containers, empty lettuce boxes. If you find that you really want an attractive container, wait until you are sure you need it...then buy only what you need for a specific purpose. Do not buy every size and color just because you like the way they look. Maybe I’ve done that:-)
Location, location, location
Find a place for the stuff you keep- everything should have a home. Everything. Nothing in your house should be without a definite holding place. This might sound extreme, but I promise, it's beyond liberating to know where every single thing belongs. Super helpful for families...this plan removes the vague notion that a space is cleaned up...it’s cleaned up when everything is put away where it belongs. Maybe we've had an issue with this at my house:-)
I am planning to revisit the KonMari Method this summer. There are a few areas in my home that could use a tune-up...and some areas that I never really mastered. Quite possibly the Paper Category:-O
I look forward to sharing my struggles and triumphs surrounding clutter and organization with you.
Want to follow along? Weekly updates are the way to go!
Also on Instagram...@togetheract and Snapchat - togetheract.
Thank you so much for your support. Questions or thoughts...please comment below or email me - email@example.com
It’s that time of year in the northern hemisphere…people are gearing up for summer vacations! I always find heading out of town to be super exciting! However, packing for a getaway is sometimes super stressful! I’m often asked how to make the task of packing less daunting. I’m happy to assist! I LOVE packing for a trip. Love it! I have been lucky enough to travel quite often in my adult life. As a result, I’ve fine-tuned my packing style to reduce stress and have me ready for ‘wheels up’ in no time!
Soon, I'll be heading out of town for two weeks. I’ll be in New York City, Pennsylvania and Virginia Beach. Want to follow along on my travels?
I'd love that!
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Okay, here are my top tips to make packing easier and more efficient...
It all starts with the proper bag. If you have a great bag that fits your needs, that’s half the battle. I like a rolling, carry-on-sized, soft suitcase.
There are lots of other options; duffle bags, hard-shell suitcases, garment bags, larger check-only pieces...but I’ve learned that those don’t work best for me.
If you’d like to know more about the other choices, I’d suggest that you ask someone you know who travels often, talk to the salesperson in your local travel store and read travel blogs for ‘expert’ opinions.
I use a Travel Pro suitcase. I purchased it at a luggage store in Exton, Pennsylvania about 6 years ago. It cost around $130....probably the best money I've ever spent on travel supplies! It is light when empty, well-made, durable and holds what I need.
I’ve recently discovered that there’s a Travel Pro Outlet website. Also check your local travel store or even Home Goods, Marshalls and TJ Maxx, as I've seen the brand there.
A small detour in this post:
I've been shopping for a new suitcase. Wow, they are expensive! My daughter is heading off to an internship and she'll need to transport more stuff than she takes for a typical vacation. I wanted to find a larger suitcase that she can check through to her destination. I didn't want to spend $15o+
Yesterday, I stopped at my local Salvation Army store after work to see if they had any decent suitcases.
The universe had my back...I scored a Delsey rolling garment bag for...
$14.99. This bag looks brand new! No odor, no wear, no stains. It's perfect for our needs right now. Don't underestimate the treasures that can be found at resale shops:-)
Okay, back to the real post...
Here are my tips for selecting a carry-on suitcase-
1. Make sure it fits in overhead compartments - The correct size bag allowable as carry-on luggage is usually labeled as ‘suitable for carry-on’ and ‘FAA approved’.
2. Pick one with 'spinner' wheels - This might be my top tip! These bags have four wheels instead of two. They are much easier to manage and they don’t seem to tip over as easily. My back and neck tend to strain when I pull a suitcase behind me...spinner bags can be pushed upright at your side. Game-changer.
3. Bag Basics-
Select a bag with some pockets and compartments, but not too many.
I like a big, flat zippered pocket on the outside to hold magazines and flat shoes/sandals and a few compartments/pockets inside- I tuck jewelry pouches and a lint roller into these small pockets.
An expansion zipper to make the bag larger for when you return home with some extra items and need more room:-)
A sturdy, easily collapsible handle.
A bag that's lightweight when empty, so you aren't carrying any unnecessary weight.
And...I like a color other than black so my bag is easy for me to recognize.
Also...carrying your luggage onto the plane makes it last much longer because it isn't being bashed around with all the other bags.
What’s inside -
Divide and Conquer
Use packing cubes! They are incredible and...if you happen to be a container junkie like me...they actually make packing fun. The ones I use are from Ikea. They are called Upptacka. A set of 4 different sizes is about $9. You can buy them other places, but for the price, Ikea's are the best quality I've seen. Marshall's and TJ Maxx also have cubes at a decent price. I’ve found that Target and travels stores tend to be a bit more expensive.
Packing cubes make it easy to organize your clothing. I use one for undergarments/swimwear/socks...one for t-shirts and tanks...one for scarves, sweaters, workout clothing, etc.
I often pack what I'll need the first night in one cube...that way, if I'm exhausted when I arrive at my destination, I have everything in one place.
Jewelry often comes in a soft pouch when purchased. Never turn down these little treasures! I love these pouches for packing jewelry for travel.
Create a capsule wardrobe for your trip. Keep in mind, in most cases you don't need to wear a completely different outfit every day. Plan to wear most pieces at least 2-3 times during your travels. I find that I rarely change my clothes as often as I think I will. Many days, I'm in the same basic outfit from breakfast through dinner.
Accessories- Scarves and inexpensive jewelry will make outfits more interesting.
Layers- Be sure to have proper coverage for visiting religious spots. A few extra layering pieces will make it easier to dress for sudden temperature changes.
Dark colors are more forgiving with drips and spills.
Quick dry fabrics- Pick socks and undies in fabrics that can be rinsed out in the sink, if necessary and will dry quickly.
Comfortable shoes! You shouldn't need more than three pairs of shoes. They take up a lot of room. Be sure all of the shoes you take are very comfortable for walking all day...even if they aren't the most stylish shoes you own:-) I pack my shoes in plastic grocery bags. I have flannel shoe bags, but I find they don’t slip into place as easily and they take up a bit more room.
My go-to summer travel shoes are white low-top Converse and a pair of simple, comfortable sandals in a neutral color. And...I always pack running shoes...a drag with a size 10 foot because running shoes take up a lot of room!
Space savers: Always fill your shoes- I stuff mine with socks, hair brushes, jewelry pouches. Place belts around the inside edge of your suitcase.
Want more tips? Check out this video and this post.
Coming soon! I'm going to give myself a KonMari Check-Up! It's been almost a year since we decluttered our home using Marie Kondo's methods...it's time to re-evaluate:-)
Don't miss this...
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Vacation time for you? Safe and happy travels! I’d love to know where you’re heading...and what tips make your trips easier. Please share!
Let me know if you have any questions- firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks so much for reading!