What I’ve Gained Through Minimalism

Minimalism

Hey, Guys! I’m veering off the path of beauty today to talk more about the minimalist lifestyle and what I’ve learned from it over the past two/three years. You go through so many stages in life and mine has certainly changed quite a bit since my twenties (marriage, house, having a baby). It only made sense to reevaluate my stuff and where it all fit in. And trust me, I had a lot more stuff than I wanted and it has changed my view on stuff overall.

I used the word “gained” in my title because I think people can have this perception that minimalism is all about having nothing, and it’s not. It’s not about depriving yourself. In my own words, minimalism is focusing on what you value and what you truly want by ridding yourself of clutter. Clutter doesn’t always have to be physical. It can be what you’re doing with your time that isn’t really contributing to what you actually consider worthwhile. It’s freeing yourself  from the continual wanting of more, more, more. It’s also personal- minimalism can look like all white walls (if we’re talking minimalist aesthetics) and living out of a backpack. Or it can be colorful and have much more variety.  It’s all about mindfulness and personal values, and more simplicity in one way or another.

Some more points before I get into it: I believe to want is good. I think to progress as humans and strive for better is important. But to want a better life and to be grateful are not mutually exclusive-you can do BOTH. All I am saying is when wanting becomes a constant, mindless thing and there is lack of gratitude for what is in front of you already, it might not be a terrible idea to step back for a second, question things and gain back some control. Momentary highs (which are cool here and there) are one thing, but longer term joy that is in line with your values is another.

Also, this isn’t about telling anyone what they should value or what they should enjoy. Everyone is in a different place in life and we all have different interests. This is more about my personal experience and my case for a more minimalist path.

I’m not quite sure if I’d even label myself a minimalist quite yet. Though I know it’s a subjective term, there can be certain limitations or ideals that are perceived or that we can put on our own selves through a label that I’d rather not at the moment- life is too fluid. But I’d like to think no matter what happens in life, part of me is innately minimalist. I’d like to think that though life can go through so many changes and stages, my hopes for only keeping things I enjoy and use will always carry though and that I will continue to learn more about myself along the way :). Doing things intentionally will hopefully always be with me.

There’s a lot I’ve gained or learned from a more minimalist lifestyle but these are some of the big ones:

  1. You can still like things! I actually value what I have even more because I don’t have as much of what I don’t value. I like trying new products and having more of certain things, I just try to make sure everything is getting used and enjoyed.
  2. More Global Awareness.  Or less waste. I’ve started thinking more globally and how to keep things more sustainable. The goal for me is that along with more intention with what I buy, the rate or amount which I’m getting rid of things will hopefully continue to decrease. We don’t know the true outcome of where all of our stuff goes when donating and I understand that there are more sustainable options. I try to sell things here and there or try to find better homes for things I no longer want, but realistically I also get that donating is the best option when you want something out of your house sooner rather than later. Either way, the goal is to decrease the rate of waste within my power (not through hoarding!!) and that is better than nothing in my opinion!
  3. My desire to shop has decreased. I’m talking the physical act of spending money. I enjoy seeing what’s out there and knowing, I just don’t have to have everything that’s out there.
  4. More thoughtful purchases. When you lay off the shopping for a bit, you recognize your impulses and triggers eventually leading to more self control. By not buying things immediately you’re able to better discern what you truly want and keep purchases intentional.
  5. Gratitude. You start using what you already have– and FINISH stuff, or see that what you have is enough and works in many cases. New stuff is cool, don’t get me wrong. But when your closet is busting out with 20 of the same shirt maybe it’s time to rethink getting similar shirt number 21. And shirt 21 may very well add value to your life, but don’t kid yourself. Really think about it.
  6. You learn more about yourself. When you start using what you have and stop continually bringing things in, you can focus on what you actually prefer and notice what you don’t. One thing I’ve learned is that I like switching things out once in while and I enjoy choice, but I don’t need 100 different things to be able to do that. You start to learn what your happy number is with your stuff and what is more in line with your actual reality. I also know I like to do things at my own pace. I can decide when I want to participate in a sale or trend, not the other way around.
  7. You’ll have more money. No you won’t be a billionaire overnight. But you may not have to stress as much about how you’re paying a bill off at the end of the month when you’re being more mindful with your purchases. Whatever your money goals are (paying down debt, saving etc.), cutting out unnecessary spending will help you get there little by little. We all know expensive emergencies happen, but hopefully through not paying for as much stuff you don’t truly want or need, you’ll be able to deal with those emergencies or life events a little better when they do pop up, or at least start saving for those times. Car issues or dental bills are annoying no doubt, but at least I know those things won’t set me back as much as would be the case if couldn’t pay for them.
  8. More peace. You stop chasing every single trend out there and stop feeling like you have to continually keep up with them or everyone around you-unless that’s something you actually enjoy or part of your job then that’s one thing. Trends are all fine and good but you also have to know yourself and that you don’t have to participate in everything. I do think a lot of that comes with getting older. We experiment and over time hopefully figure out what works for us and what doesn’t (trust me, I’ve played around with some interesting looks back in the day-all part of the fun!). I like admiring and being inspired, plus we should be happy for others. But you can do so while still be being grateful for your own blessings and honoring your own style and tastes which is just as special as anyone else’s. You should own it. If not, time for some introspection. Look within. 
  9. Increased Awareness. You’ll notice more how retailers (or anyone/anything) try to get you to buy. I know many small businesses do truly stand behind their products but like anyone else need to generate an income. So this isn’t a dig at all of their motivations. But again, I am focusing on that awareness here. It’s more about the constant “You need this!!” promotion of excessive materialism that you start to notice and start to walk away from. Allow yourself to make your own decisions on if you truly want or need something, not hype or pressure.
  10. More time for other things. Time to ourselves is more rare the older we get, and I’m not saying you’ll magically have days and days on end that are commitment free once you start a more minimalist life. But with whatever time you do gain back when reducing the time constantly looking for the next thing to get or clutter bogging you down, that can be used towards something else you truly value. You might not even know what that is yet, but it’s worth exploring. There are times when I do truly enjoy stepping out and getting things I need or just seeing what’s out there (and honestly these days it’s a chore and just needs to get done), but it’s a wide, wide world. What else do I enjoy or how else can I add value to my day/life or someone else’s? What can I create?  How cool is it to discover what else is out there and what else gets us going? Even it means stopping to rest or smell the roses or more time with people I love. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Possibilities are endless.

I’m sure there’s a ton more to add (look out for a possible part two down the line!) but those are some of the biggies!

Have you tried a more minimalist path? What have you learned? If not, is it something you might be interested in trying? Leave your comments down below! 

Love, Jen

April, May, June Empties and Declutter!

Hey everyone! I’m excited to get back to blogging after having been away for a bit. Before July flies away, I wanted to share all of my beauty empties/declutter (it never stops does it) from April to June. I’ll try not to dwell too much on these since there are a bunch.

It probably goes without saying that at this point my primary focus is to do more using up of what I already have or declutter what I’m not really into anymore as a way to downsize and think about what I want to bring in. So let’s get to it! By month:

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Two Years Blogging! So What’s Next?

Two Years Blogging!
Two Years Blogging!

Hey Everyone!

So I’ve reached two years of blogging this month! That is, if you count the last three absentee months. I haven’t blogged since April- work and life in general have sucked up most of my motivation. I honestly could not find a place or will to blog, just couldn’t bring myself to post more of the same or anything at all. So how’s that for a two-year celebration? Lol.

As you may or may not know, we are expecting our second little one in September! Of course we are thrilled, but during my first and the start of my second trimester I was pretty tired and lazy after work and pretty much valued being a bum. So with that, combined with lots of introspective musings, life situations and just lack of desire, blogging just wasn’t happening. I was struggling to see the point of it in my life.

Looking back over this last year on BeautyLifeMom, I kinda played it somewhat safe. I’m not one to be super vulnerable and spontaneous on my blog, perhaps the reason I started so many drafts yet published so few of them. I managed to get some beauty reviews out, tried some things like going dairy-free to help a skin situation, and moved a lot of products out of my stash and added a few things in too. While all of that was fine and good and will more than likely continue to be a part of my blog, I know there’s a lot more I’d like to get into. As the months and now years of blogging roll on, it’s becoming more obvious that my focus is more towards using what I have over constantly bringing new stuff in, and it’s something I want to explore further on here.

Lately I rediscovered how important and freeing writing and getting my thoughts down is for me. That it is something I need to keep doing for myself. I take note of how great the blogging community is even after not being at it for a while and how much it means to be sharing what’s on my mind while also learning so much in return.

I’m no fortune teller so I can’t predict how often I will blog going forward especially with baby number two coming, but I would like to be more deliberate and be more active on here. I will continue to blog about the ins and outs of my beauty inventory (I’m not crazy about the word “collection” for some reason), but definitely want to talk more about consumer culture, my minimalist journey and where I am on that spectrum since it’s too big a part of my life to not talk about it.

So everyone, in this third year of BeautyLifeMom, I hope to be more of a blogger than I had been my second, for no other reason than I want to be intentional and show up. Because I truly love writing and sharing what’s on my mind and hear your thoughts as well. Perhaps those are higher hopes these days especially with major changes forthcoming, but who says anything has to be perfect? Sometimes perfection is just an illusion. No promises of a perfect blog with perfect schedules, but to showing up when I can to talk about more of what’s on my mind! So cheers! On to year three!

Love always,

Jen

Esqido Lashes Review!

Esqido Lashes-Little Black Lash
Esqido Lashes-Little Black Lash

Hey everyone!  Over the past year or so I’ve been wearing false lashes a bit more often. While I’m no lash aficionado, I’ve become a lot more comfortable using them for special occasions like weddings, and believe me I’ve been to a ton of weddings recently! I literally just got rid of my last pair of E.L.F. lashes when I was contacted by Esqido Mink Lashes days later, letting me know about their brand and product. Timing couldn’t have been better considering I was looking to get a new pair and a new lash glue to boot (my dark tinted DUO glue was not cutting it)! So needless to say, I was thrilled they reached out to me and honored to work with them on this blog post!

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January-March 2018 Empties and Declutter

Hey guys! It’s been a while. Last time I posted was almost a month ago so I have a lot to catch up on, empties and otherwise. A few empties I skipped writing about in detail cause I really had nothing to say about them or had reviewed them multiple times previously and I’d feel like a broken record. Of course if there’s anything pictured that I didn’t mention and you’d like more detail, please let me know! But hopefully overall this gives you (and myself down the line) an idea of what and how much I used up each month and some thoughts. So before I let these pile up any further, here are my January-March empties! Continue reading “January-March 2018 Empties and Declutter”

February Favorites!

February Favorites
February Favorites

Hey Guys! It’s been about a month since my last post, just couldn’t force myself to blog (another story altogether), but I’m back yet again and I’ve rounded up my favorites from February! Read on to learn what made my February list!

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January 2018 Beauty Favorites!

January 2018 Beauty Favorites
January 2018 Beauty Favorites

Hey everyone! We’re just about at the middle of February and what better time to get to my January favorites? That was a joke, I’m always late with these kinda things. So this is my first favorites post ever. I don’t know why it’s taken me over a year to do one. Empties posts are easier for me to do since you can easily quantify those by month-everything just goes into a pile and that’t that. With favorites I have to think back to what I’ve enjoyed the most over that time. Not hard, just not what I’ve typically done for my blog.  So here are a mix of both older and newer products in my stash that I’ve used and enjoyed in January- there’s quite a bit so lets get started!

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November & December 2017 Empties and Declutter

Hi all! Welcome to my first empties post of 2018! I think it’s neat seeing what and how much I finish in a month. I always learn something through these-how long it takes for me to use up a product, patterns. I notice that I don’t repurchase maybe 80-90% of what I finish. And not always because they stink either. I just don’t consider them staples or haven’t fallen in complete love. Some things I try just to try, which hey-never know what might end up being a favorite!

My journey in minimizing my skincare has been well underway, and I finished off a ton of products last year and have made a conscious effort to keep going and see what I enjoy, and of course I want to continue do the same with my body care and makeup. Skincare is just so much easier cause I use so many of the same things everyday. So let’s get into November:

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Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation Review

Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation
Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation

Last year I was on a mission to try different liquid foundations in the  mid-higher end range. I have my drugstore favorites by L’Oreal, but it had been quite a while since I’ve used much else and figured it was time to branch out again.

My skin can get oily so I need foundations that will hold up and look reasonably decent after a few hours. I usually go for medium/full coverage since I am prone to breakouts and hyperpigmentation after they heal or are in the process of healing. The Urban Decay All Nighter foundation sounded like something worth trying for both coverage and staying power. This foundation I think was released in 2016 so it’s been out for a while, but new to my collection last summer.

Product background: According to the description on the Ulta website: All Nighter Liquid Foundation by Urban Decay provides full coverage with a modern matte finish that never looks overdone. Get all-night wear and a blown-out effect you never thought was possible for a flawless-looking complexion that looks amazing and stays that way. Perfect for all-night affairs and other scandalous activities, this revolutionary formula is also comfortable enough to wear every day. 

You get 1 oz of product for $40, so it’s not cheap by any means. But is it worth it? I’ll break it down for you based on my experience.

Packaging. Very cool pump bottle in an edgy, fun design true to the Urban Decay brand. The bottom rises as you pump product out so you won’t have to scoop anything out at the end. Less waste and you know you’re using up every last bit! Thumbs up there.

Coverage and Application. This is a very pigmented, fuller coverage foundation and more so if you use a foundation brush, but I find that when using a brush it looks a little cakey. Less is more in that situation but even so it still looks a little too heavy for me. I prefer applying it with a damp beauty sponge which helps with the cakiness, but then you lose some coverage and need more product and concealer in trouble zones. Not a big deal if you don’t have much to conceal, but I definitely need coverage so I have to work more into the skin.

Many have said this gets darker or “oxidizes” on their skin and I can confirm that to be 100% true, at least with the shades I tried. Originally I got it in the shade 6.0 but it turned much darker and orangey about a minute after applied, totally not how it looked in the bottle. Since I’m not one to like the Oompah Loompah look I returned it for 4.0 which was a much better fit. So yeah, I would recommend going a shade or two lighter.

Finish.  On the dry/matte side, at least at first. If you’re looking for a hydrated dewy look you might want to stay away from this. I like to use my MAC Fix+ or Milani Make it Last spray to take away some of the dry appearance. I also like mixing this with my L’Oreal Lumi foundation-with this combo I get a foundation that is long wearing and keeps the fuller coverage, but is a lot more natural looking and hydrating. As the day goes on though it definitely doesn’t look as dry, perhaps because my skin naturally gets oily.

How it Wears. The formula feels very comfortable on the skin and stays put for a good part of the day. No sliding around which I can appreciate, though there is a little shine in my T-zone after 5/6 hours (not too bad) which I can easily blot away with a little powder. Even with that said, my skin still looks evened out out and smooth overall.

On the flip side, this tends to settle into lines and emphasize texture or bumps, so not particularly flattering in trouble zones. If you have zero blemishes or younger skin you probably have nothing to worry about. Even so it might age you since it’s drying in areas and can appear heavy depending on how it’s applied.

Here are some before/after swatch pics:

No Foundation
No Foundation
With Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation
With Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation

Overall Thoughts. Though I found ways to make All Nighter work for me and it can look nice, as mentioned it emphasizes texture in some spots and can settle into lines and other parts of my face. I don’t think it’s terribly noticeable unless I look really close, but then again I always look close :).  For the most part it stays in place and looks smooth and not masky. The little bit of dewiness on my T-zone after a few hours isn’t a big deal, most foundations will do this on me no matter what they claim. It doesn’t feel greasy nor do I feel it on, also good points.

I will finish it and use it with a blending sponge or mix it with my Lumi foundation, but I don’t know if it’s definitely a repurchase. It’s a good foundation, not sure if it’s quite “ride-or-die” status at the moment, or different enough to warrant dropping $40 on again. If you are oily and have relatively smooth skin, it may be worth trying. Just don’t forget to go lighter!

UD All Nighter
UD All Nighter

Have you tried this or found your holy grail foundation? What are your favorites? Til next time, Jen <3

2017: Looking Back and Ahead

Happy New Year
Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, Friends! 2017 as expected came and went in a flash. Every January I tend to reset my mind a little, wipe the lenses a bit, do more reflecting. For me it’s just natural to do this time of year. I tried some new things. I decided to scrap things too. Learned a bit more I would hope. There are definitely things I want to continue or focus on more or approach differently, new year or not.

The more recent years are starting to mesh together and are getting harder for me to recall. I had to actually sit and think about what happened in 2015 and 2016 which kinda freaked me out. Besides my son’s birthday parties I just couldn’t remember. Thank God for pictures and other documentation because without it I couldn’t tell you what was going on during those years and it wasn’t even that long ago. I really must be getting older. With that said and and so I don’t forget, in no particular order what are some things that personally stand out to me about 2017?

Continue reading “2017: Looking Back and Ahead”