Current makeup storage

Posted on November 22, 2016 under Thoughts


My life for the past four years has been very transient: I have spent each school year in a different apartment or dorm, and summers in Toronto with my family. I never managed to set up much of a permanent makeup storage situation because I’ve basically been hauling big rolling suitcases of my stuff back and forth between various cities (and countries) for four years.

Now I’m in a weird place: I’ve been in Toronto since April and will be here until August or September. That’s enough time that I want my surroundings to be nice, but not enough for me to set up anything permanent. But the tiny table I had been using as my vanity was becoming untenable: almost every square inch of it was covered in acrylic containers, and it was hard to see and reach everything. Additionally, I’m not a drawer kind of gal. If it’s not out in the open and easy for me to see, I won’t use it. So I devised a $40 solution that ticked all the boxes for me.

Namely, I bought 4 small square IKEA LACK shelves for $10 each, mounted two on either side of my table, and set up all my acrylic containers on them. Originally I had three, one on top of the other, but I realized that I a) needed more space, and b) I couldn’t reach the highest one. I picked up another one at my earliest convenience and rearranged them like so:


I’m actually really happy with this solution. I’m not sure that this is what I’ll continue to do long-term, but 40 bucks is a reasonable investment for the outcome.

Of course, I couldn’t show you the big picture without details…


This shelf holds my everyday essentials and all my lip products. In the past I’ve had various larger lipstick holders from Ebay and Amazon, but I’ve ended up transferring all my traditional bullet-shaped lipsticks into 9-slot holders from Dollarama. They’re $3 each and are really sturdy and well-made, and I like that they’re smaller because it gives me more options for configuration.


Most of my everyday products are in this shell dish that I got from Ten Thousand Villages last year. Next to it you can see my pencil sharpener and my Maybelline Color Tattoo in Tough As Taupe, which I use on my brows every day.


Currently I have four lipstick holders on the go, though they’re not all completely full. The two in the back hold all my drugstore lipsticks, most of which are by Rimmel, Maybelline, Joe Fresh, and Collection. The one in the very front is all my prettiest lipsticks: MAC in the back, YSL in the middle row, and Charlotte Tilbury and Clarins in the front. (If I get more gold lipsticks they’ll definitely take MAC’s place.) The holder next to it is hard to make out since most of the products are black, but in the back row I have two Lancôme GWPs and a matte by Lise Watier. The middle has my two NARS Audacious lipsticks, and the bottom row has two minis, one by MUFE that I got at Winners and the Marc Jacobs birthday gift that you’ve already seen on four million blogs this year.

You can also see that I have a cup of lip liners in the back left corner. You can’t tell from this picture, but it’s a holographic cat cup that Aisling got me. (There’s another on my eye product shelf that you can see a bit better.)


I also have this multi-slot acrylic holder which I think I got from Winners. In the back I keep my liquid lipsticks, then jumbo crayons, then some random products (brow gel x2 and a mascara that I don’t use on a daily basis), then some cheek products that I don’t have another home for. Next to that I have my foundations, daily sunscreen, and moisturizer.


Next to that I have my cheek products. I really love the container I have my blushes in, which I got from Marshalls – I like that it has three different sections, though I pretty much have no room left for any new products. In the first section I have mostly cheap blushes – Sleek, H&M, Milani – as well as a Tarte blush that didn’t fit anywhere else. The second compartment is just for my beloved Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blushes. The last one is a mish-mash of mid-range and high-end stuff: Guerlain, Chanel, Benefit, and NARS. (I know it’s probably tacky to keep luxury products in their velvet sleeves, but there you go.)


Behind that I have a single-compartment acrylic container that I also got from Marshalls in a two-pack. I keep a jumble of stuff in there – my bronzer, my powder highlighters (and Topshop Glow highlighter), setting powder, a ColourPop blush that didn’t fit in the other container, my contour product, and a NYX concealer palette sitting on top of two boxes of false lashes. I have two loose powders and my dirty, torn-up Quo blending sponge which I desperately need to replace. (The bowl it’s sitting in has been floating around my house for as long as I can remember. I’ve used it variously to hold candy, my keys, and now my blending sponge.)


Next up: eyes! This shelf is overflowing, but oh well.


The main focal point is of course a stationery organizer from Dollarama which holds my most-used palettes. (Actually, I never use the yellow theBalm palette in the back, so I’m not sure why it’s in that organizer/my collection in general other than the two colours in it that I love.)


I use a napkin holder from Dollarama to hold my other palettes, which I don’t reach for as often but which are still nice to have on hand.


Here’s another of those one-compartment acrylic organizers. It holds smaller palettes and singles – you’re mainly seeing Lancôme GWP quads and Maybelline Colour Tattoos. (You’ll also spot my single ColourPop shadow, NARS Dual Intensity singles, and another velvet-pouched Guerlain product.)



The final shelf is a jumble of skincare things that I don’t use daily, backups, and samples. They’re housed in Vichy gift set boxes that a customer didn’t want. (I always have an eye out for possible storage solutions…) The vast majority of the stuff in these tins was given to me by brand reps at work. (Actually, the only things I see in those pictures that I purchased myself are the ELF brush cleaner, the Stila eyeliner, and the backup of Sally Hansen Pacific Blue.)


By the way, I took this photo when I was like thirteen and I went to summer camp for photography. Most of my pictures are pretty good but have wonky borders because I was very sloppy when developing them. This is actually one of my better border moments, though the picture itself is slightly out of focus.


My brush holders are vases from Dollarama with vase filler also from Dollarama. They could both use a bit more filling, especially the smaller one that I use for my eye brushes.


I keep a small hand towel to wipe off my brushes and dirty fingers, as well as baby wipes for, you know, wiping things. Mainly swatches, since wipes haven’t touched my face since probably the 1800s.

And there we have it: my inexpensive but functional and pretty makeup storage!

(And if you’re interested, a very different and even more temporary setup from February 2015 when I was living in Glasgow.)

A new haircut for 2016

Posted on January 11, 2016 under Thoughts

In January 2014, I bleached my hair for the first time so that I could dye it magenta. After a brief flirtation with magenta and then hot pink (and a 6-week lavender interlude in the fall of 2014), I became a fulltime blonde in April 2014.

On January 4, 2016, I bleached my roots and toned my hair like I’ve done countless times. This time was the straw that broke the camel’s back: my hair became in alternating sections gummy and brittle, breaking off in remarkable amounts. The toner burned my scalp and I turned beet red. (Later I was told that I’d probably developed an allergy to my beloved Wella T-18!)

I knew this day would come; I’ve been rather indiscriminate with the bleach and was under no illusions that I’d be able to keep up the platinum forever. I immediately made an appointment with my hairdresser, who squeezed me in for the next day. I told her I was prepared to take as much off as necessary. She said we’d really only need to cut side-swept bangs to camoflage the breakage around the hairline and take a few inches off the lengths. I told her to go shorter.


Apparently my favourite selfie pose, with and without lipstick – because a good selfie is not complete without lipstick. YSL Rouge Volupté 17, for the record.

So shorter we went!

I really like my haircut; I’ve never been particularly attached to my hair, and though it was a bit of a shock to see it shorter than it’s been since I was thirteen, I was excited. I think once about three or four more inches grow back in I’ll like it even more, since I find just below chin length to be the most flattering on my face shape. But I’m glad I went for a big chop, because the more we took off last week, the less destroyed hair there is for me to deal with. I’m most devastated about the bangs; it took me eighteen months to grow them out from the blunt fringe I had for years, and I didn’t want to give up on my hard work. But they’ll grow back.

Shorter’s okay by me too because my hair is so thick that when it gets long sometimes it’s a bit unmanageable. I don’t think it’ll stop having a life of its own, but at least there’s less of it to wrangle! Also, don’t tell all the people who have told me repeatedly that blonde suits me, but I will not miss the process of doing my roots.

I’m not sure what the gameplan is now. Clearly, no more bleach will be in my future. I haven’t yet decided if I’ll dye the ends to match my roots or if I’ll just embrace a grungy, two-toned, very-long-roots look. Maybe I’ll even dye it another bright colour while I still have the blonde base. I think I’m going to try to let it be as much as possible for as long as possible, though – it’s been through a lot over the past two years, and certainly deserves a break!

All I know for sure is that I’m still adjusting to the extremely reduced amount of conditioner it takes for my whole head.

It doesn’t seem to dry any faster, though. It’s still absurdly thick, after all.

2016 Blog + Life Goals

Posted on December 29, 2015 under Thoughts

I made it back just in time to squeeze in one last post of 2015! Here are my goals for this year, which I may or may not succeed at. (I failed both of my goals last year, which were to read 25 books and to stop picking my zits. I’m terrible.)

Continue to interact with more bloggers and make blog friends

At the tail end of 2016 I started occasionally participating in Twitter beauty blogger chats, which led me to discover a lot of cool people and blogs. I’d like to continue doing this, especially because I’m a lurker by nature and tend not to comment on blogs very frequently. So this year I want to continue to be active in the #bbloggers Twitter community and comment on blogs more regularly. (You can follow me on Twitter if you want to help me with this goal!)

Post at least once a week

For prolific or professional bloggers, this goal is probably pretty pathetic. In some of my better months, I easily exceeded this goal – but, as I’m sure some of you have noticed, my blog does go through periods of radio silence when I’m busy with work or school or just uninspired. Five times a month is the bare minimum I’d like to achieve, though I’m hoping I’ll manage more than that for at least half the year.

Diversify content

I love beauty blogging, and it’s something I want to continue with. But sometimes there are other cool things in my life that I’d like to share, and I don’t want to be pigeonholed. I have occasionally shared interesting things I’ve done or places I’ve gone, though through the lens of beauty, and once in awhile I’ll talk about a book, film, or TV show – but I want to do this a bit more often, and maybe not only tacked onto the end of favourites posts or talked about in terms of beauty. So expect a wider variety of posts in 2016!

Quality over quantity

I’ve been naturally transitioning towards this philosophy when it comes to buying new things, especially makeup, but I want it to be a conscious effort when I’m interested in buying something. I don’t want to buy a cheap dress because it’s cute and affordable. I want to buy things that I will use often and that will last me a long time. This year I want to be more thoughtful about what I bring into my home, making fewer purchases that are of a higher quality. (And I’m not talking pricey here – but if I buy something at the drugstore, it has to be because I’ve researched it thoroughly and feel that it will be used and loved, not because it’s cheap!) I think I’ve flushed the “Buy a lot of things because they’re cheap and I want to experiment” thing out of my system now. I have all the basics when it comes to clothes, makeup, and general life items – so now it’s about acquiring things in a well-thought-out, slow, sustainable way.

Get into and start grad school

I haven’t applied for grad school yet (the applications for the programmes I’m interested in aren’t due until July, so I have time!), but I’m hoping to get that sorted within the first quarter of the year. After that, it’s just a waiting game. I’ll let you know when I hear more!

Read 25 books, 75% by marginalized people

I used to be a prolific reader (100 books in 2012 was my peak), but university seems to have sucked up all my time. When I am free, I usually turn to Netflix rather than a book – and I want to change that! 25 does seem paltry to me, but it’s a start. The second half of this goal is aimed at broadening my horizons and supporting writers whose voices are often passed over. Nothing against straight cis white male authors – there are many who I love. But women, LGBTQ+ people, people of colour, and any combination thereof deserve my attention to, and I’m making an active effort to read more works by people who fall into these categories. This was an unofficial goal last year and I really enjoyed it, so I’m happy to continue on with it! For the sake of fairness to myself I won’t be including any works by white men in the count if I have to read them for school, because, you know. I have to read them if I want to get my degree in June.

Learn to wake up earlier

Guys, I’m so bad at waking up in the morning. I’ve struggled with insomnia for as long as I can remember, so my sleep schedule has tended not to match up with the schedule that civil society runs on. In my entire university career I have never signed up for a class that started earlier than 10am, and 11:30am is really my preferred earliest start time. But next semester I have 10am classes four days a week, so I’d better get used to it! I also want to stop overcompensating by sleeping in late on the weekends and then completely ruining the sleep schedule I’d perfected during the week. Sleep is a big struggle for me (although it’s markedly improved over the last two years), and I want to start tackling it in 2016.

Happy 2016, everyone! I’ll see you on the flip side!