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!)

Cold weather essentials

Posted on November 25, 2016 under Lists

cold-weather-header

We had a very mild fall here in Toronto. Up until a week ago we had temperatures in the high teens and low twenties (Celcius) throughout, with a few nippy but not truly cold days here and there. And then everything changed and it became freezing, which is pretty much the way winter usually arrives here – that is, with no transition whatsoever.

I’m not a huge fan of winter. (That’s an understatement if I ever heard one.) The cold is one thing, but the wind, the prolonged darkness, and the ice are what really get me. Of course, as a lifelong Canadian, I’ve learned how to survive winter whether I enjoy it or not – and I have some indispensable things that I must have throughout these cold, blustery months. All of these things will be staples in my life until it finally starts getting warmer six months from now.

Skincare

cold-weather-skincare

It’s probably the most obvious statement ever that skin needs more heavy-duty nourishment in the cold months. In the past few years my skin has become more normal due to a better skincare routine and a commitment to drinking a lot of water every day, but in the winter it tries its damnedest to banish all water and oil, so I have to be really diligent. I’m a big fan of using oils as moisturizer at night or on days when I’m not wearing makeup; I’ve recently been using The Ordinary’s 100% Organic Cold Pressed Moroccan Argan Oil, which was a steal at $6.80 CAD for 30mL (1oz).

I’ve also been loving the Origins Drink Up! Intensive Overnight Mask, which I purchased after hearing Allana Davison rave about it several times. Allana is a fellow dry-skinned Canadian, and because she lives in a way dryer climate than me I trusted that I’d like it. It’s $32 CAD for 100mL/3.4oz ($0.32 per mL/$9.41 per oz), which I think is a pretty fair price, especially considering the fact that a little bit goes a long way. I always wake up feeling nice and moisturized when I use this, and it helps keep the dreaded nose flakes at bay.

For my lips I could not be without the Nuxe RĂªve de Miel Lip Balm. All the YouTube hype is real – it really is the best overnight lip balm. I’ve been using it for a year (so, all through last winter as well) and it keeps my lips in tip top condition. I often don’t even have to apply a lip balm during the day after using the stuff overnight!

Finally, I’m finding I have to kick my bodycare up a notch these days. Lotions just aren’t doing it for me. If my face is dry, my arms and legs are made of actual sandpaper. The Body Shop Coconut Body Butter is my body moisturizer of choice, and I’ve already stocked up on two more because I go through them like water. This one is thicker and more solid than any of the other Body Butters, I assume because coconut oil solidifies at room temperature. The coconut oil does wonders for the smoothness of my skin. I have keratosis pilaris and it’s not exactly a miracle product in that regard (generally the only thing that truly brings the KP down is a chemical exfoliant), but it really softens my skin. This is the only Body Butter I buy nowadays!

Clothes

cold-weather-clothes

Uniqlo opened in Toronto recently, and their Heattech Leggings are LEGIT. The first time I wore them under my jeans I was like, “WHY AM I BOILING HOT?” Then I realized! I’ve been a longtime lover of fleece-lined tights and leggings, but the Heattech fabric is way thinner and thus more efficient. When I wear them under my Topshop Joni Jeans (which are fairly thin and very tight and stretchy), they don’t look bulky or weird. Consider me a convert to the ways of Heattech!

Cool weather means I can finally bust out the shoes I like wearing instead of half-heartedly slipping on the same beat-up flats every day. I’m of the opinion that a good pair of boots can make a “meh” outfit amazing. My favourite pair? My Topshop Marbles Elastic Ankle Boots, my biggest fashion-related splurge of 2016. They’re so beautiful and versatile. I love them because, obviously, I can wear black ankle boots anywhere, but the shiny heel and accordion detail makes them a bit interesting. Sadly Topshop doesn’t sell these anymore, but they have a lot of great boots right now!

Beverages

cold-weather-drinks

I get cold super easily. If it gives you an idea of what I’m talking about, I sleep with a quilt even in the dead of summer and I never use a fan. If I drink my usual 750mL bottle of water during winter, I will not stop shivering for like fifteen years. So I turn to hot beverages to hydrate me, most notably peppermint tea. Unlike every other Canadian blogger, I’m not a huge fan of Davidstea – I like simple herbal teas, not fancy blends. But the travel mug I bought from them last winter is amazing and I’ve definitely used it enough to justify its price. It keeps tea warm for hours and hours, meaning I can bring it to work and sip whenever I have a chance and not have to worry about it cooling off. Plus, it’s really pretty. They don’t make my exact one anymore, but this one has the same features and looks similar.

When I fancy a sweet treat, I always go for Second Cup White Hot Chocolate. I’ve been popping into Second Cup to buy them since I was in middle school (so, a solid decade), and last winter I started buying the mix – it saves a lot of money and tastes just as delicious when mixed in with 2% milk. When it comes to real chocolate, dark is my favourite and I don’t like white, but there’s something about white hot chocolate that is so good.

Also, obviously I always drink my white hot chocolate out of my One Direction mug. Because I’m an adult.

mug

Etc

cold-weather-books

Flannel sheets (the backdrop to all these images) are obviously necessary when it gets cold – hey, I sleep with a quilt in the summer, so I really need to step it up a notch in the winter.

I’m a reader in general, but when it’s too cold to do anything I always tear through long, meaty novels. Pictured are two books I’ve read in this final quarter of 2016 – The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton and A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James, which you’ll see in my next Books Read post – and one that I read in the winter of 2015: The True and Splendid History of Harristown Sisters by Michelle Lovric. I’d highly recommend all three if you’re looking for something to sink your teeth into!

And that’s it for my cold weather essentials! None of these things will be too far from my side in the coming months.

Cold Weather 2015 Favourites

Posted on November 16, 2015 under Favourites

I know it feels like fall has just arrived in a lot of places, but here in Montreal winter could come at any moment. We haven’t had real snow yet, just a tiny bit that melts as soon as it hits the ground, but it’s imminent. I suppose these are my fall favourites, but let’s call them cold weather favourites as most of them will transition well into winter.

theBalm Balm Jovi Palette

favourite-balm-jovi

This palette has been in my collection for years and is tragically neglected, so I’ve been making a point of pulling it out these past few weeks. It contains some perfect fall shades, and the shadows are generally of a great quality – pigmented and blendable. A bunch of these shadows make for beautiful one-shadow looks, a few of which you’ll see in an upcoming post.

favourites-balm-jovi-swatches

A few of my favourite shades: Alice Copper, Lead Zeppelin, and Moderato.

Wet N Wild Silent Treatment trio eyelid colour

favourites-wnw

I predicted this would get a lot of use this fall, and so far I have been correct. It’s one of my favourite eyeshadow colours, period – this shimmery taupe-y purple is just so special and absolutely beautiful on the lids. It’s neutral but still interesting. It’s also gorgeous to work with; it’s so soft and blendable, and true to the colour in the pan. I sneak this into my makeup year-round, but I think it’s especially suited to fall.

Clarins Waterproof Eye Pencil

favourites-clarins-eyeliner

My coworker received this as gratis but gave it to me because she doesn’t like waterproof eyeliner, and wow am I glad. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure! I use this pencil to tightline every day and it lasts all day without transferring to my lower waterline. It’s creamy and does not irritate my eyes whatsoever. On my top lashline, it transfers a bit, but it’s honestly the least transfer I’ve ever experienced from a pencil liner. It’s definitely a pretty penny, but I’d repurchase it for sure. (Also, it has since been sharpened. This picture was taken post-Halloween, when it was used to scribble all over various faces.)

Arbonne Intelligence Lip Treatment*

arbonne-intelligence-lip-treatment

My lips have never been in better shape and that’s all there is to that. If you’re interested in the full review, I went more into detail in a previous post.

Revlon Matte Balm in Sultry and MAC Lipstick in Rebel

favourites-lipstick

Sultry and Rebel could not be more different if they tried, but I have been wearing both of them non-stop this fall. Sultry is a gorgeous mixture of brown, pink, and red – I never know quite how to describe it. On my colouring, it’s a bit more deep and dramatic, but still on the neutral side of things. It’s the type of colour that goes so well with the rich browns and bronzes of fall. Rebel is obviously a statement shade, and it’s been one of my favourites for ages. It’s the most beautiful, singular magenta, and it’s my favourite lipstick colour ever. It suits this time of year so well, and it basically has not come off my lips in weeks.

favourites-lipstick-swatches

Sultry on the left, Rebel on the right. Obviously.

Oversized mug

favourites-mug

As you may know, I am big on staying hydrated. But when it gets colder, drinking a bottle of cold water is often the last thing I want to do. However, it’s tedious to continually make small cups of tea that amount to tiny volumes of water. Remembering the big mug I had in Glasgow last year (purchased from Primark, in case anyone is on the hunt), I hit up Dollarama to replace that sucker. This mug holds 500mL of tea, and it keeps me very, very warm. I am in love with it.

(Also, don’t mind Justin Trudeau staring at you. It’s a long story that involves cutting a 5 foot campaign sign down off a post at 3am and bringing it into our home. Okay, that’s the story. It’s actually pretty short.)

H&M Blanket Scarf

favourites-blanket-scarf

I’m pretty sure that whoever invented blanket scarves was Canadian, because there is nothing more suited to this nation. I think the best coping mechanism for a Canadian winter is to just encase yourself in as many textiles as possible. And also to cry at the fact that the sun goes down at 4:30pm and it’s -40 degrees outside. Blanket scarves are, obviously, perfect for outdoors, but they are also extremely versatile when inside. Mine basically has not left my body since I purchased it. Multiple times, I have found myself on my sofa, nodding off after 17 hours of readings, and covered myself with the scarf and had a very warm and comfortable nap. And there is just something very, very appealing about literally wearing a blanket outside.

Zara Glitter Boots

favourites-glitter-boots

Just look at these boots and try to tell me that they aren’t the answer to every possible question or problem life could ever come up with. They are perfect. Granted, they were me settling because I can’t afford the Saint Laurent version that Harry Styles wore in SNL in December 2013, but they’ll do.

tumblr_mxiypcKIMf1t16awqo1_500

These are like four billion dollars.

Theorem

favourites-theorum

It seems that I am a fan of weird foreign 1960s films, a fact about myself which I kind of hate. But there’s no denying it – my favourite film of all time is Daisies, a Czech new wave film.

I watched Theorem for my Italian cinema class, and I was blown away by it. Given that it’s an art house film, it’s the type of thing that must be watched to be understood. The plot is very simple: an Italian bourgeois family is mysteriously visited by a stranger, who sleeps with each of them and who leaves abruptly. His departure makes each family member realize that there is a massive void in their bourgeois existence. It doesn’t sound like anything special, but it’s a beautiful film. There’s hardly any dialogue; most of it just music and images. Definitely the best thing I’ve watched for school this semester.

Baking and Cooking

I know I’m not the only one who always develops a time-consuming interest at the end of the semester, as a distraction from the piles of work I have to do. This semester I have been very into baking, which is productive and delicious enough that I can’t be too mad about it. My roommate and I have also instituted weekly Adult Nights where we cook a real meal together, and although I normally dislike cooking I always have such a good time when we cook together. Here are some of the creations to come out of my kitchen recently…

favourites-pie

I’ve made four pies so far and I have finally perfected a flaky, wonderful crust. Pictured is pumpkin pie with a brown sugar pecan glaze.

Katie and I made white pizza last night and it was AMAZING! The thin crust recipe we used was perfect, and our toppings of garlic, onion, mushroom, broccoli, and chicken were absolutely delicious. We still have 4 slices leftover, so that’s a few dinners sorted…

favourites-bagels

At 9pm the other day I got a bee in my bonnet about bagels, and so I made some! It took me about two hours, but it was worth it. They’re not quite as good as St. Viateur, but I’m really impressed with the recipe.

Next up: scones.

Those are my recent favourites – a bunch of stuff that has been keeping me warm, inside and out, in the increasingly cold weather.

Product marked with an asterisk was sent to me for review purposes. All opinions remain my own.