Pre-moving declutter, part I: Clothing

Posted on August 17, 2017 under Declutter

I’ve been in Toronto for over a year now, which is the longest I’ve been in one place in five years. I’ve become very good at moving all my earthly possessions via plane, car, and Megabus, on average once every four to eight months since 2012. As many of you know, in just a few weeks I’ll be making a big move again – back to Glasgow, Scotland, where I spent 7 months in 2014 and 2015. Of course, moving across an ocean comes with major restrictions as to what I can bring – namely, whatever I can cram into two checked backs and two carry-ons. This impending move has inspired a necessary round of decluttering. Today I bring to you a recap of some recent clothing decluttering. A makeup declutter is soon to follow!

As I go through my clothes, I’ve been keeping three criteria in mind:

  1. Do I like this? Basically, the $1000 Marie Kondo question. This is an obvious one, but I have been hanging onto items which simply don’t spark joy (as Kondo puts it). I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to move four suitcases through three airports, but it requires every bit of physical and emotional strength a person can possibly possess and there’s no point expending that energy on things I don’t actually like.
  2. Do I wear this? A “no” is a good indictor that I shouldn’t keep the item, though it’s not 100% damning. I did keep some items which in my current life as a fulltime retail employee with a strict dress code I have not been wearing, but which may fit into my grad student life a little more easily.
  3. Will I wear this? This is the question that naturally follows from “Do I wear this?” Not only are there items that I have not been getting much use out of lately that I think I will wear in the upcoming months, there are also pieces that I wear constantly now which I don’t think will be useful to me in the UK. This question encompasses a lot of smaller questions. Will this fit into my lifestyle? Is this a comfortable article of clothing or just one which I like the look of? Can I envision how I will wear this? Is this appropriate for the Scottish climate? I’m lucky in that I’ve lived in Glasgow before, so I have some insight into what will be useful and appropriate for me to keep.

Going through my clothes piece by piece I found that what I got rid of fit into 4 categories:

  1. Things that don’t fit. You know when you order something online and it doesn’t fit right or isn’t comfortable but you don’t want to pack it up and trudge to the post office so you convince yourself you will actually wear it but of course you never actually do? Yeah. I had a few of these pieces in my closet, and they were among the first to go.
  2. Things that I don’t love. I have a lot of pieces that I’ve kept around because I think they’re useful: a comfy grey cardigan, a red v-necked t-shirt. Certainly these are practical and versatile items, but I just don’t reach for them over my other clothing options.
  3. Vestiges of a former life. Clothes I bought at 19 when I was in my undergrad are not necessarily clothes that are relevant to my current lifestyle.
  4. Work clothes. For work, I have to wear black dress pants and a black shirt. I have a lot of black shirts. Granted, I like some of them because black is a colour I tend to buy a lot of anyway. But there were definitely shirts I was holding onto simply for work purposes that I wouldn’t ever reach for in any other context, and so I gleefully said goodbye to them.

When I was finished, I discovered that what I had left was very formulaic: shades of grey and black and lots of jewel tones; black and white striped items; skater skirts and fit and flare dresses; patterned button-downs; sweaters. Yep, I have a type.

Here’s (most of) what I got rid of:

As always, getting rid of stuff feels so good that after I donated all this I ended up going through everything again and getting rid of more. I would say in total it would fill about a garbage bag and a half, which is a significant amount of space saved in my suitcase.

Highlights of my purge:

Lots of crop tops! They were great when I was 19 but just aren’t something that I have room for in my current life, for the most part. I decided to keep one for nights out and ended up getting rid of the other four (obviously, only two are pictured).

Some dresses which I bought with no occasion to wear and have worn very few times. All of these are from H&M. I wore the blue one to my high school graduation so it has some sentimental value, but I have a very similar dress that I wore to my university graduation which I kept instead. The others have all been worn to various occasions (birthday parties, NYE, funerals…) but I don’t wear them enough to keep them around.

Skintight miniskirts that don’t fit anymore and actually just shouldn’t be a part of my life at this point. I just can’t deal with having to tug my skirt down every 3 seconds anymore!

Two black purses which were too big for me to carry on a daily basis. I favour small (but not tiny) purses, and now I have one that I’m really happy with. These ones are in good condition, so hopefully someone is walking around the city getting use out of them now.

Impractical shoes. I bought the 72-inch black wedges with Christmas money when I was 18. I have worn these twice because I can’t walk in them and will never be able to. The open-toe shoes I did actually wear a few times – including to my graduation last year – but they’re not very comfortable. They were Forever 21, so the expenditure wasn’t too immense. I wear heels extremely rarely and am more likely to go with a pair of heeled ankle boots when I want some extra height. And if I want to wear heels, it’s definitely not going to be these:

I mean, REALLY. My eighteen-year-old hubris is astounding.

My favourite combat boots in the world. I love these boots so much and I am heartbroken that they are as destroyed as they are. They’ve been beat up for quite some time, and then I dropped a bottle of Essie Bahama Mama on the floor and it splattered on them, which horrified the employee who was helping me but which I loved. I think it really adds to their charm. I mean, they’re combat boots. If they’re pristine they don’t look right. I have another pair from the same brand, but the plaid is teal and blue and the boots themselves are a bit more bulky – I like them, but not as much. However, I think my mom will personally kill me herself if I take nail polish-splattered combat boots that are detaching from their soles overseas. Really, if I were moving to a climate where it didn’t rain daily I might consider it anyway. But walking around in the rain with holes in your boots is not the most practical idea.

A lot of work clothes! Most of these are hand-me-downs from my mom. I wear a lot of black in my day-to-day life anyway, but I’m getting rid of a lot of pieces that aren’t really my style but that I kept for the sake of work. A few of these items are also just worse for the wear and not worth hauling overseas.

In all, I decluttered 5 cardigans, 4 crop tops, 9 blouses, 3 blazers, 4 t-shirts, 7 pairs of pants, 1 pair of leggings, 3 pair of shorts, 4 skirts, 5 dresses, 1 pair of PJs, 1 athletic top, 1 beach cover-up, 2 bags, 4 pair of socks, 3 pairs of tights, and 4 pairs of shoes. 61 items gone total, which is a lot more than I was expecting. Good job, me!

(P.S. I’m taking my driving test tomorrow afternoon, so wish me luck!)

Inventory: Eyeliner

Posted on August 10, 2017 under Inventory

Let’s quickly run through this. Even I have limits when it comes to discussing eyeliner.

Liquid Liner

A staple in my eyeliner life since forever (aka 2013), I think I will always have Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Intense Black on hand. This eyeliner has never done me dirty in four years, which is why I have a backup. (I keep expecting this one to run out because I bought it in June 2016, but somehow it has managed to surpass its usual lifespan of 10 months.) I also have the same product in Snow and Indigo.

I’ve come to realize that almost every NYX product I’ve tried has disappointed me and thus ended up being destashed, but the Vivid Brights Eyeliner in Sapphire is legit. I rarely find a liquid liner formula that my eyelids don’t swallow, and this is one of them. Plus, well, cobalt blue is my colour.

Finally, a third liquid liner formula that actually works for me: Lancôme Grandiôse Eyeliner in Cerulean and Fuchsia*. Sadly these two beautiful colours were limited edition in the winter, but I love them. They’re so much fun and wear beautifully. I wish Lancôme would come out with more fun colours in this line and make them permanent, because the formula of this liner is bomb.

L-R: Stila Intense Black, Stila Snow, Stila Indigo, NYX Sapphire, Lancôme Cerulean, Lancôme Fuchsia

Pencil Liners

I use black pencils exclusively to tightline. Clarins Waterproof Eye Pencil in Noir is okay, but not the most transfer-proof. I got this as a gift from a friend and I’d never pay $27 for it! The Marc Jacobs Highliner in Blacquer (last year’s Sephora birthday gift) lasts a lot better, though it’s also overpriced.

In terms of browns, I have two of these Stila Smudge Sticks, in Damsel (a matte dark brown) and Lionfish (a lighter, warmer brown with some shimmer). These Smudge Sticks seem to multiply of their own accord; I’ve never actually bought one, but somehow have four (and that’s after decluttering at least two). Two more: Halfmoon and Purple Tang, a matte grey and a sparkly purple, respectively.

Clinique Quickliner for Eyes Intense in Black Honey is a really nice warm brown that complements warmer eye looks very well. I probably don’t need it since I already have two brown liners, but I like it.

NYX Wonder Pencil in Light is a classic nude to pop in the waterline to brighten tired eyes. I like it! I’m usually a twist-up pencil kind of gal because I’m lazy, but it’s a soft, creamy pencil that sets nicely. I love that they make this in different shades of nude, too.

Finally, two blues: Lise Watier Waterproof Eyeliner in Marin, a navy, and Annabelle Kohl Eyeliner in Lapis, a beautiful cobalt. Lise Watier and Annabelle are both Canadian brands owned by another Canadian brand, Marcelle, and of the two I vastly prefer Lise Watier. The Annabelle eye pencils come in a really great array of colours, but they’re drier and stiffer. The Lise Watier liners are creamy to apply but budgeproof once they set. Of course, they’re also about twice as expensive.

L-R: Clarins Noir, Marc Jacobs Blacquer, Stila Damsel, Stila Lionfish, Stila Halfmoon, Stila Purple Tang, Clinique Black Honey, NYX Light, Lise Watier Marin, Annabelle Lapis

Eyeshadow Sticks

I don’t know why I decided to put these in this post instead of with the single eyeshadows, but what’s done is done. These live in the same cup as all my liners, so that’s probably why.

If you were involved in the Reddit makeup world in 2013, then you probably either bought a NYX Jumbo Pencil in Milk or coveted this product mightily. This was back in the days of savagery when NYX was not available in Canada, so I had to get my mom to pick these pencils up in New York for me. This product does not work as an eyeshadow base for me whatsoever: it creases terribly, even over a primer. I also don’t like it in the waterline because it’s too stark. I used up quite a bit of one pencil on Halloween 2015 when I used it as makeshift face paint on three people. The other one is untouched.

Lise Watier 24 Hours Glam Cream Eyeshadow in Satin Glam is a beautiful, shimmery champagne shadow stick. I’m not big on eyeshadow sticks, but this has a great formula. I mostly use it in my inner corner for an intense highlight.

L-R: NYX Milk, Lise Watier Satin Glam

I also have a gel eyeliner by Essence which I neglected to photograph but which you can see in action here.

There we go – I breezed through that batch of products pretty quickly, huh?

Review: Marc Jacobs Le Marc Lip Crème in So Sofia

Posted on August 05, 2017 under Reviews

I am prone to long-term obsessions when it comes to lipstick colours. For example, I’ve certainly mentioned on this blog multiple times my quest for a lilac that flatters me: see this post for an example of two which aren’t quite right. (Oh, a reference to this quest in a ColourPop review, too.)

One of these interminable expeditions concerns the search for my perfect coral. (Referenced in the ColourPop review, too…) Actually, my perfect coral is embodied in Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate Moss 06, which is a super vibrant pink-leaning coral that I love with everything I have in my soul. It appears that I’ve never posted a picture of me wearing it on this blog, but here’s one from the very end of my undergrad, when I was stressed and needed to inject some sunshine into my life in the form of bright lipstick.

Now, obviously I would not be searching for another coral if there weren’t a catch to 06. The catch is that Rimmel discontinued it A LONG-ASS TIME AGO. I’m a little hazy on exactly when, but I was wearing this regularly during my first summer at my job, which was three years ago, and I constantly had to tell people who asked about it that it wasn’t made anymore. I purchased this particular tube in the fall of 2013, which means that it’s coming up on four years old. It hasn’t gone bad yet, but it’s old as shit, not to put too fine a point on it. I’m also not terribly in love with the Rimmel Kate formula anymore; it’s nice, and you can’t really complain for the price, but I prefer something a bit less slippery.

I’ve been looking for a dupe for this colour for a long time, and I’ve found it really difficult. There’s a fine line between a pink-based coral and a warm bright pink, and most lipsticks seem to cross it. See Charlotte Tilbury Electric Poppy, for instance, which in 9pm Nordstrom lighting I thought could be a convincing dupe but turned out to be pink, not coral.

Online dupe-hunting proved difficult; the internet bears little evidence that anybody else in the world has ever bought 06, and I haven’t been able to find anybody duping this specific colour. (Temptalia’s dupe database let me down here!) Googling “pink coral lipsticks” yielded a few promising candidates, all of which I eventually discarded. Bite Pickled Ginger, for instance, is too light. MAC Impassioned seemed like the best candidate colour-wise, but I find MAC lipstick formulas a bit underwhelming.

I read Auxiliary Beauty’s March 2016 review of Marc Jacobs So Sofia with some interest, and even noted in a comment that it reminded me substantially of 06. Yet I wasn’t ready to commit to it, for whatever reason. Too expensive, maybe (though at $38 CAD it’s cheaper than both Charlotte Tilbury and NARS), or perhaps it’s just that the Marc Jacobs beauty brand never really appealed to me. (I do love Daisy, though, because I’m basic as hell when it comes to fragrance.) I recently stumbled across her review of So Sofia again, and my interest was reignited.

As I’ve mentioned before, I despise going downtown, but last week I had to go to the passport office, which is right next to the Eaton Centre, which meant it was the perfect time to do a Sephora return I’d been putting off. (For those keeping track, I returned the Hourglass Vanish foundation, which I really liked but which I decided I didn’t reasonably have a use for.) I was four days past the thirty-day mark so I got store credit, which in my mind meant that I could get a new lipstick for free. (Well, it was with money that I’d already spent, but…) I’d had the foresight to bring with me my tube of 06 and immediately made a mess out of the back of my hand with swatches of every coral lipstick I could find. As it turned out, So Sofia was the closest by far, so I bought it. (Having had the Sephora birthday gift mini of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang for over a year, I was confident that I liked the Le Marc Lip Crème formula enough to get along with So Sofia.)

The Le Marc Lip Crèmes come in large, shiny black tubes. I think the packaging is pretty enough; I’m not losing my mind over it, but I’d feel good about pulling it out of my bag in public. I do like the magnetic closure, which my mini of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang lacks. There must be some evolutionary biological reasoning as to why we all seem collectively drawn to magnetic lipstick tubes.

However, I must complain pettily, for that is my calling in my life. These lipsticks have have very wide bases that don’t fit into your standard lipstick organizer, so I have to store So Sofia with my jumbo lip pencils and liquid lipsticks. This shouldn’t bother me, but it does, because ontologically this is a bullet lipstick and should be stored with its kin. This design seems a bit arrogant to me, as if Marc Jacobs thought his shit was so good that it shouldn’t have to conform to normal dimensions. You don’t get to transcend my organizational system without a complaint, Marc!

That is Too Big.

However, I’ll concede that this irritation can be mostly swept aside in light of all of So Sofia’s positive attributes. I mean… it’s beautiful, dammit:

(Can we please acknowledge that this is legit the first lipstick review I have ever posted on my blog where I have photographed a fresh, unmarred bullet? I don’t know how I managed this, to be honest.)

This formula has a slightly gel-like component to how easily it glides onto the lips without feeling particularly thick. Initially, the finish has a definite sheen, but it wears down to a matte throughout the day. On my lips, the formula feels lightweight and comfortable. After about five or six hours of wear it feels slightly dryer, but not moreso than any other lipstick. What really impresses me about So Sofia is how well it wears. I actually found the longevity of my Kiss Kiss Bang Bang mini a bit disappointing – it wasn’t abysmal, but considering the full size costs a rather extravagant $38, I wanted it to last longer than it did. Perhaps the vibrancy of So Sofia just causes it to stain my lips more, but either way, it wears really well. Here’s a picture I took after five hours of wear, which included eating two bagels and drinking a bottle of water with absolutely no retouching:

I mean, bagels cannot be eaten delicately. They gleefully strip mouths of lipstick. And somehow my lipstick still looked totally pristine. (Better than my foundation looked between my eyebrows…)

Better, non-iPhone photos of the colour on me:

Squinting incredulously ’cause the sun was in my eyes.

I mean, is that not glorious? If that doesn’t say summer, I don’t know what does. In fact, it’s so summery that I wonder if acquiring it on the first day of August wasn’t a mistake on my part. How much time will I have to wear this before I put it away in favour of my berries and deep reds? I know in my heart that seasonal colours are a lie, but in the four years that I’ve owned Rimmel Kate 06 I’ve scarcely pulled it out between the months of September and March. This is a neurosis that I think I will have to overcome in order to get the most out of my $38.

And comparison swatches:

L-R: Rimmel Kate Moss 06, Marc Jacobs So Sofia, YSL Rouge Pur Couture #57, Charlotte Tilbury Electric Poppy

If anything, the Rimmel colour has the tiniest more orange to it – So Sofia really is just on this side of coral. However, it has the vibrancy that the YSL and Charlotte Tilbury shades lack, as well as the barest hint of warmth that makes it a coral in my eyes. Though it’s not exactly identical to my Rimmel shade, the shocking brightness makes it a satisfactory dupe for my purposes.

I’m not sure the last time I bought a lipstick hoping it would be something specific that it actually turned out to be. It’s not just the colour that’s perfect, it’s the finish, the feel on the lips, and the way it wears. So Sofia is precisely what I wanted it to be. And that’s almost as beautiful as the colour.

The Marc Jacobs Le Marc Lip Crèmes retail for $38 CAD for 0.12 oz, or $316.67 per oz.