Be-You-Tiful

Today I decided to finally cross off something of my ‘to do list’ I’ve been dreading for a long time now.

Those who know me know that I’m a sucker for pretty packaging, especially when it comes to makeup and beauty products, which resulted in me hoarding those things like crazy for the past few years. Especially the makeup was getting out of control. I bought makeup I would never even wear, but just bought because it looked so pretty or because “some day” I was really going to do a full face makeup on a regular basis. Well, “someday” never came and my makeup stash kept growing and growing.

Don’t get me wrong, I love makeup! I think it’s a wonderful thing to enhance your natural beauty a bit more. There have been times I wouldn’t leave the house without makeup on, but luckily I grew more confident about my own appearance and don’t need makeup to feel good about myself anymore. When I do apply makeup, it’s because I want it, not because I need it.

So today the long and difficult process of sorting out all my makeup and beauty supplies started. I already threw out a lot of it a few weeks ago, but there was still plenty left.

While sorting out all my makeup, I noticed I had a really hard time letting go of some of the items, especially the completely unused items and the expensive ones. It just felt like a waste to throw them out, which, of course, it was. But just because it’s a waste, doesn’t mean you should hold on to it. For me, it just didn’t feel right. All that stuff was weighing me down, because every time I saw it, I felt the pressure to use it. Something I didn’t want, because I don’t feel comfortable wearing foundation or lipstick, and believe me, I had a lot of those!

While I’m usually pretty down to earth when it comes to cleaning out my belongings, the little voice inside my head saying “but…” and “what if…” became pretty present during the few hours it took me to sort out all the makeup and beauty supplies. I guess the reason I had a harder time sorting those things out than sorting out clothing and other belongings, is because I always felt, until the past few years, that I needed makeup to feel okay about myself and to get accepted by others. My addiction to beauty supplies and makeup started at a young age, making it harder to let go of, because it had been such a big fundamental part of me for many years.

So what got me to finally throw out all that stuff? First of all, necessity. Necessity really is the mother of invention. It usually isn’t until we really need to, before we change. As you all could read in my previous blog, I’m moving next month and the new house is quite a bit smaller than my current one, calling for some serious minimalising. Second of all, the burden of all those products was becoming more and more present. Every time I opened up the drawer, there were those products again, becoming heavier on me everything I saw them. Third of all, those products represent the old me, the past, the times I felt incomplete  and unaccepted without makeup.

It became quite a process, but once I really got into the right mindset, it became a lot easier! Yes, it still was a struggle and it really made me realise how dependent a person can be on stuff, but it was worth it (oh, that reminds me of that brand new L’Oréal shampoo I really didn’t like I just got rid of). Something that really helped me was to Google ‘Minimalist Makeup Bag’ and to just look at the makeup supplies others have and to read there stories. So thank you all who are sharing there experiences with minimalism. Another thing that helped me, was to pick items that felt good to me. For instance, I had a lot of lip balms, and when I say a lot, I mean A LOT! I only kept the ones based on natural products, and got rid of all the other ones.

Maybe you also could use a little bit of help sorting out your bathroom cabinets, so here are some tips that really helped me along.

  1. What are your favourite beauty items? Mascara, eyeliner, eyeshadow? And which brands? Those are probably the items you use on a regular basis. Keep those items. Those are clearly the items you really like and use, so no need to throw them out. If you have extras of those items (like I do. I have a habit of buying extras of items I really love, in case they get discharged), store them until you run out of the one you’re currently using).
  2. Which beauty items you own do you never use? Even when you answered ‘mascara and eyeliner’ on the first question, you can still have mascaras and eyeliners lying around that you never use. Maybe you’ve bought them because the ad looked great or because of the nice packaging. Maybe you’ve tried them out ones and decided you didn’t like the product or maybe you never even broke the seal on the packaging. Throw those items out or give them away. These are the items that are cluttering your life and mind, weighing you down.
  3. Which beauty items you own don’t you like? Do you own lipsticks even though you really don’t like wearing them? Or maybe it’s foundation, blush, powder, whatever. If you don’t feel comfortable wearing it, it’s time to part with those items. You probably will never use them or if you do, you won’t feel good about it.
  4. Do you have a hard time throwing out unused items? Give them to someone else! Someone else might love them and that way, it might not feel as such a waste to you.
  5. Make a list! Sometimes something as simple as setting a certain amount of products you are “allowed” to keep, makes things a whole lot easier! That total amount is totally up to you, just pick a number that feels comfortable to you. Maybe that number is three, maybe 50, whatever makes you feel good. You can even create a list of products and put a number behind it (for instance: Mascara (2), eyeliner (4)).
Some of the items that made the cut

All the items I ended up with

Here’s the list of items I ended up with. My total amount came down to 30. It still seems like a lot, but right now, these are the items I feel comfortable keeping. If it turns out I won’t be using some of these items, I will get rid of them.

Eyes

  • Mascara (2)
  • Eyeliner (5)
  • Eyeshadow primer (1)
  • Eyebrow pencil (1)
  • Eyelash curler (1)
  • Eyeshadow (3)

Face

  • BB cream (1)
  • Face primer (1)
  • Powder (1)
  • Blush (1)
  • Bronzer (1)
  • Concealer (2)
  • Highlighter (1)

Lips

  • Lip balm (3)
  • Lipstick (1)

Miscellaneous

  • Clear nail polish (1)
  • Fast dry drops (1)
  • Pencil sharpener (1)
  • Baby powder (1)
  • Hand cream (1)
Untitled-2

Some of the items that made the cut

In the end, I’m really proud of how I handled this process. It might seem trifle to some, like it’s just throwing out makeup, but to me it was closing a chapter of my life. It took me two full years to realise that I don’t need all that stuff to feel good about myself, that I don’t need makeup to be pretty, so to finally getting rid of all those beauty supplies and makeup items really meant a lot to me. I feel so much lighter now and the items I kept, are items I really love.

All the items I got rid of

All the items I got rid of


When spending less money becomes a need

Spending less can be a fun challenge and even a great lifestyle change. However, when spending less becomes a necessity instead of something you just do because you want to, it become a whole lot less fun to do.

When I started this blog my goal was to spend less money, to consume less stuff and to be happier this way. And for me it worked! I was able to kick my shopping addiction to the curb and even had some money on my savings account. I wanted to do this, so I could be happier. And that’s what I got: I got happier by spending and owning less stuff.

But now spending less is no longer something I just want, but it became something I need to do if I want to be able to pay my rent at the end of the month. And when something becomes a need instead of a want, it all of a sudden becomes a bit stressful and not so much fun anymore.

As some of you may or may not know, at the beginning of September I went back to college, for the first time in years. Before, there were an awful lot of reasons why I wasn’t able to study, but that’s a story for another time. So, I’m a college student now and as we all know, college is expensive. I’m okay with that, I study something I truly love and which will give me a better future. But that doesn’t take the fact away that there’s even less money left at the end of the month.

Somewhere around mid-September one of my cats, Tijger, got seriously ill and I had to take him to the vet. Luckily he’s okay now and I thank God for that, but can you say “ka-ching!”? He also needs to stay on a special diet for the rest of his life, which I’m more than happy to provide because I love my cats more than anything, but, once again, it leaves even less money at the end of the month than there already was (or wasn’t) before.

As you can see there are multiple cost that got bigger and bigger over the past few months. Cost I’m willing to pay because they are worth it. But because of these extra costs, me wanting to spend less money became me needing to spend less money. So how do you deal with that? Here are some tips to help you deal with money stress.

Appreciate what you already have

This might sounds like an obvious tip, but a lot of people don’t really see how lucky they already are. When money is tight, the thought about what you can’t buy can quickly become overwhelming. This is a very negative mindset. It might help you out if you start to think about what you already do own and to realise that that’s enough (here’s the minimalistic thought again). I don’t have a lot of money, in fact, at the end of my money there’s still some month left. But that’s okay. I can provide the basic needs (food and shelter), I can take care of my two cats and sometimes there’s even some money left for a new pair of jeans or whatever. Look inside you closet, look around you, and ask yourself: Do I really need that new dress or is it just something I want and why?

Of course, if you’re no longer able to provide the basic needs, you can appreciate all you want, but that appreciation won’t be able to give you food and shelter. If this is the case, please seek contact with your local authorities for help.

Regain control over your financial situation

Make sure you know exactly how much money you earn and spend each and every month. This way you won’t have to stress out when you’re buying groceries or whatever, because you know exactly how much you have to spend. Make a feasible budget and stick to it.

Try to stay out of debt

If you’re already in debt, seek the help of a professional to help you out. If you’re not in debt, do your best to stay that way! Debts bring stress with them and when money is already tight, debt-related stress is the last thing you’ll need. And yes, sometimes you have to maintain an extremely sober lifestyle in order to stay out of trouble, but so be it. When money is tight and there’s nothing more you can do to change that, you sometimes have to realise that for now you won’t be able to go to the cinema, to eat out or to go clubbing with your friends. This is not the end of the world. There are a lot of fun activities you can do at home, without it costing you a single penny. For instance, watch a movie at home with your friends, do yoga, go running, go to the local petting zoo, go on a hike through nature, write, take pictures etcetera.

Choose to build a wealthy future

Use your money to create a secure financial future instead of spending it on material possessions. This way you’ll get a feeling of freedom and peace, something spending money you don’t have on all the expensive toys in the world will never give you. The first step to a less materialistic future is realising that money won’t buy you happiness. And yes, that is a cliché, but clichés are clichés because they are true. Of course, you need money to provide the basic needs, such as food, shelter and clothing. But when money, or rather spending money, start to take over your life, it’s time to take a real hard look at what’s really going on. Are you trying to fill a hole by buying stuff you don’t really need? Because that’s what I did. I felt so much sadness and I was really lonely, that I kept buying things just to feel a spark of happiness, even if it was for just a few seconds. Or maybe, there’s another reason why you’re so caught up in materialistic possessions. If you feel you can’t deal with the underlying issue by yourself, I highly recommend seeking the help of a professional, there’s not shame in that!

Do what works for you

Try to find a way of spending less that works for you in the long run. Maybe that’s by quitting materialism cold turkey or maybe by bringing your budget for clothing down just a little bit. Try to make your changes last, to create new habits that will help you and feel good to you even years from now. For me that was seeking the help of a professional to help me with my psychological issues, to create a healthier lifestyle for myself and to realise how blessed I already am, and that that has nothing to do with stuff.

Getting rid of my sugar addiction

Sugar, I’m truly sorry, but we have to say goodbye. I love you Sugar, perhaps a little bit too much. Our relationship is no longer adding anything to my life. In fact, it’s doing more harm than good. I wish you the best, but I have to go now.

My sugar addiction was getting out of hand. I could easily eat a big bag of M&M’s, a whole bag of cookies and some other stuff in one day. Yes, just one day, every day … I was craving sugar for most of the day and was getting restless if I didn’t had access to it.

Eating too much sugar has been a problem ever since I was a teenager. I would eat bags and bags of sweets in just a few hours. No one would ever suspect me of a sugar addiction, unless they have seen me eaten, because I’m really skinny and I never gain a single pound, despite the amounts of food I’m consuming.

Eating less sugar has never been something I was looking forward to. I love sweets and chocolate and when I feel bad I rather eat a candy bar than an apple or something. I like fruit as well, but somehow candy always was my first choice.

So why quit eating so much sugar when you like it? Because man, I was feeling horrible! I was tired most of the time and only got a temporary sugar rush after eating some candy. Also I’m pretty sure that my mood swings have something to do with the overkill of sugar I take.

Yesterday I mostly ate healthy stuff. I had a nice breakfast, ate some fruit, drank only one soda and a lot of tea and even made myself a salad and some freshly squeezed juice. I did managed to trick myself into thinking it was OK to eat some candy … The addict in me still want sugar.

Today, I’m feeling horrible. I’m so tired and I feel like I’m getting the flu or something. I looked up what the withdrawal symptoms of quitting sugar are, and getting really tired is one of them. So I guess it’s just something I have to get through.

Some other withdrawal symptoms are cravings, anxiety and depression, and a general sense of loss when the addictive substance is not used. I’m looking forward to it … not.

So why stop? Because it’s killing you, slowly, from the inside out. You can get diabetes, heart diseases, you can get fat, get emotional troubles etcetera. Yes, I like sugar. Pff, I LOVE sugar, but the amount of sugar I’m taking will not do me anything good.

I don’t want to scan every label to see if there’s sugar in something, so I’m just going with not buying candy and no sugar in my tea anymore. It seems like not much, but the candy is my main problem. I’m pretty sure it will be a struggle to kick the addiction and replace the candy with some more healthy snacks, but I need to do it.

If you want to get rid of your sugar addiction as well, start now, not tomorrow. If it’s too much for you to go cold turkey, start with small steps, like no more sugar in your coffee, no more soda or, if candy is not that big of a deal for you, no more candy. Eating less sugar will make you healthier and will make you feel better eventually. Eating less is better than not doing anything at all.

Quitting Facebook

O dear Lord, I’m quitting Facebook. I never thought it would be possible and I’m still not entirely sure if it is, but I have to. I’m spending too much time on Facebook. It’s taking over my life. And yes, I know, that’s just pathetic … I’m addicted. Facebook is like a fridge to me: I keep opening it up every few minutes, hoping to find something new and exciting, but nothing ever changes.

So it’s time to say goodbye (am I the only one who suddenly feels the need to sing that song?).

Dear Facebook-friends,

First of all: I’m grateful for Facebook.

No other venue allowed me to reach so many people so easily, so quickly, with so little expense. Through Facebook, I reconnected with individuals from my past, classmates, old friends and family members.

And as a means of finding someone on this planet, Facebook has worked better than any other service, because it’s international. I can find someone who lives on the other side of the world in just a few seconds and catch up on their lives. Same story the other way around: over the past few years hundreds of people found me through Facebook.

Facebook allowed me to post messages on my friends walls to tell them I love them, it allowed me to chat with old classmates and family members and it made it possible to share things I found interesting.

And there is more. But I didn’t intend to write a eulogy for Facebook, so this will have to suffice.

So far, this side of the Facebook-coin has been bright and shiny. Admire this side of the coin as long as you want to. And when you are ready, turn the coin over.

I will deactivate Facebook primarily because I am addicted to it. Though I don’t play any games, though I don’t take quizzes, use apps, respond to requests, the incredible access to people brings me to Facebook too often. I have tried various methods to control this, efforts to keep the shiny side of the coin always up.

And if I really know you, and/or if I really see you once a year or so, and/or if I really am a friend of yours, email me after I deactivate Facebook. I want to keep in touch.

Take care, for you are all wonderful human beings.