#EmptiesChallenge Update

I began my Empties Challenge on September 25th.  It is now November 24th.  Let’s discuss the progress I’ve made(?) within the past two months.

As you may recall, my challenge involved a cease and desist of all beauty purchases unless I emptied out and finished two products that I already had first.  Many details and stipulations were involved in this challenge, and you can read the full run-down here.

During October, I managed to finish off one Origins A Perfect World face wash,and one Caudalie Vinosource eye cream.  My choice for my first beauty purchase?  A much needed hair trim.  I was very happy with myself for making the decision to choose a necessary service of maintenance and self-care as opposed to, say, a new shade of blush from Sephora that in all likelihood I do not need.

Since then, I have managed to go through all of my Yes To Cucumbers cleansing face wipes, my Lancome Bi Facil eye makeup remover, and a travel-size Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet.  I’m also closing in on finishing my beloved Rahua shampoo, a couple of my favorite CoverGirl mascaras, and my Simple Micellar Water.

But here’s the problem that I’ve run into.  All of these things that I’m running out of are, well, things I already run out frequently because I use them frequently.  Makeup remover wipes?  Cleansing solution?  My favorite shampoo?  All things I use on a regular basis, at least three times a week.  I tend to use the micellar water to cleanse my face even when I haven’t worn makeup during the day.  So, when I run out of these things, I kind of need to repurchase these same items right away.  For example, I probably need to redeem two of those aforementioned almost-empties for a pack of face wipes this week because I use them so often.  And I know I won’t be able to last too long without a mascara that I trust.

IMG_1280

But this just keeps me locked into a pattern of buying the same items, and using the same items.  Which then keeps me from trying to use up my less-used products, like all my color makeup or nail polishes.  Which was one of the main objectives of this challenge in the first place- to use up my less-used products.  Which means I’ve kind of defeated the purpose of this challenge.

See my dilemma?  I mean, at least I’m not adding anything new to my collection of stuff and at least I’m not spending unnecessary cash, but I’m not exactly getting anywhere with all those unused lipsticks or that bottle of nice foundation.

So what’s the solution?  It’s actually pretty simple.  On top of using the things I normally use each day, I need to also make normal use of all my less-used stuff.  What does that look like?  It looks like not only washing my face each day, not only using my favorite moisturizer each day, but also wearing makeup each day!  The fact of the matter is that this challenge will only be an exercise in redundancy unless I begin to consistently use the products that I typically neglect.  I know I may just be restating my original objectives here, but that’s what you do with research data and experiments- you measure your progress against your original goals, determine what pitfalls you’re encountering, and regroup from there.

So the implications of all this are actually quite fun and something to look forward to- I need to wear more makeup on a daily basis.  I need to stop just using my Burt’s Bees and actually top it off with one of my glosses.  I need to add a little eyeshadow along with my common look of just mascara and liner.  Not the worst thing in the world, I suppose.

But this hasn’t been my only problem.  Here’s another speed bump I encountered- I completely forgot about my challenge one afternoon a couple weeks ago and got a blowout.  Yup.  It was after work, and I knew I was going to return to work just for a little bit that evening and I wanted something relaxing to do for an hour or two, and so I passed the time by getting a $25 blowout.  Can you believe it?  The stylist was literally massaging my scalp when I remembered, and I about cracked my skull against the ceramic tub.  Ugh.

See, those are the kinds of purchases that are just so unnecessary, and it wasn’t even fun or relaxing!  The stylist was stressed and annoyed because the salon had been having a champagne and Botox party (mind you, I had not been to this place before) and she’d hated interacting with the guests all day, so by the time she got to me she was at her wits end.  The poor girl couldn’t crack a single smile for the first twenty minutes of our time together, even when we were introduced.  Her irritated state was tangible, and I apologized to her a couple times because I knew I’d booked on short notice.

I ended up trying to talk and listen to her about life in general, what frustrates us as fellow introverts, and what kind of work environment and coworkers we enjoy most.  I even tipped her a full 20% because I felt bad and I encouraged her to ask her boss if she could be done for the day after finishing with me (a request that was granted).  In other words, I came in for a relaxing blowout and instead ended up trying to meet the emotional needs of the person who was supposed to be providing me with a paid service.  If you know me, you know that these are classic McKenna problems (read: extreme people pleaser, ISFJ, “I can’t be happy unless you’re happy”, assuming responsibility for others’ well-being, etc).  Not relaxing in the least.  Truth be told, I probably shouldn’t have tipped her at all.

So, yeah.  Due consequences for me being mindless and spending money on frivolities, I suppose.  And now I’m down another two empties!  Oh well.  I can start over and look forward to the fact that the only way for this challenge to yield some exciting results will be by getting creative with my makeup on a regular basis.  And that’s certainly nothing to complain about.  xo, MR

On Not Getting Bored With My Long Hair: Braids and Blowouts

For as long as I’ve lived, I’ve never, ever been able to produce an adequate French braid on myself or anyone else.  Standard braids are easy enough, and I’ve been able to turn out a single standard one on myself with fair results.  However, anything beyond this has been literally impossible.  I’ve practiced on my own hair and on others dozens of times, and I always end up feeling like I need three hands.  And of course, braids are so the thing these days that I’m all the more envious of those that can turn out those delicate little plaits just across the top of the head, or those gorgeous, messy fishtail looks a’la Blake Lively .

blake-lively-cabelo-lateral-hair-side-fishtail-braid

So anyhow, last night I found myself in a, um, creative mood, and I happened to have a friend over at that moment with lots and lots of beautiful red hair.  I broke out my curling rod and got to waving her hair into medium-sized ringlets with beachy texture, but apparently I wasn’t quite satisfied with that, because I suddenly found myself grabbing pieces of her hair on both sides of her hair and almost haphazardly weaving them in and out of each other.  I know with French braids you’re supposed to grab a new strand to weave into the braid as you continue it, but I honestly had very little grid for what I was doing.  There was nearly no method.  I kept pulling out and weaving in new pieces, but sometimes I’d use the same strands over again.  I’d created two fishtail-like braids on each side of Stephanie’s head, and then I got to work trying to weave together everything into one.  The end result was something I never thought I’d be able to do without instruction:

braid1

Not terribly shabby, eh??  I love how it seemed to take on a magical Elsa quality with almost no effort!  I couldn’t believe it.  It actually looked like a braid.

braid2

I’ll work on neatening it later, but for now I’d love to keep practicing this on nearly anyone I can get my hands on.  I like the messier, more pulled apart look so I’m not too worried about attaining perfection.  I used Oribe’s Après Beach Wave and Shine Spray for extra texture, but Stephanie’s hair really didn’t need it that much.  I need almost no excuse to use it, though.  That stuff is the best, and it smells amazing.  I sometimes skip perfume when wearing it.

Finding some ways to mix up my own look lately has been a real necessity for me, because I’ve been dealing with a slight itch to chop it all off after finally growing it out to the length that I’ve wanted for years.  If I can start reaping the benefits of long hair with things like fishtail braids, I figure that’ll keep me from making the idiot move of getting rid of all my hard work in one moment of insanity and dissatisfaction.  In addition to adding things like braids and long, unkempt ponytails to my repertoire, I’ve been going for all kinds of texture when I wear it down: straight and smooth, round-brushed with volume, or waved and matted.

styles

I’ve made so little use of hairbrushes in the past few years, but the look on the left was a result of using a boar-bristled flat brush to smooth out and lengthen the bottom layers, and a ceramic round brush for volume and bend on the top layers.  My own blowout lasted a good four days, and a bit of dry shampoo on the crown added some extra mileage.  I covered my hair in Frederic Fekkai’s Coiff Controle Ironless Straightening Balm, and that stuff gives hair such good stretch and elasticity; I’ve long touted it as the best straightening product I’ve ever used.

The look on the right is my most frequent style.  I wrap random sections around a one-and-a-quarter inch iron (without using the clamp, ever) and I leave the ends free, sometimes finishing things off by straightening them just a bit.  I tend to spray a look like this all over with the Apres Beach, or these days I’ll use Bumble and Bumble’s CitySwept Finish for extra “chunk”, as Kristen Stewart calls it.  And of course, mussing it up as much as you can with your own hands before stepping out the door is a must.

Once I manage to get my own hair into some sort of dignified French braid, I’ll have to do a post on it.  But for now, a braid on a friend and a really good blowout on myself is about all we can ask for.  xo, MR