Style: Tidying Up – A Short Part II on Folding

So a few people wanted a bit more information on the actual nitty gritty of the “Life Changing Magic of Tidying-Up” process. Without reading the book there’s not much more I can tell you about the mental and emotional process but the physical side, I can offer some additional assistance for sure.

I really feel like this book is a good purchase for those who are interested (even if you think you’re only hesitantly interested, I recommend it) so I don’t want to give too much detail. Buy the book! It’s US$7.70 for the paperback! But I do want to go over some things that are hard to describe in words. Specifically, folding techniques. In her companion book, Spark Joy, author Marie Kondo mostly repeats herself to be quite honest but she also does have some moderately but not hugely helpful diagrams of folding. I thought to save your additional $10 I’d just take some pictures.

Now, I’m no expert. I’ve just started doing this. I’m new. So just … take all this with a grain of salt okay?

Her basic folding advice is to figure out how your clothing wants to be folded. In order to do this, you figure out how to fold it vertically in order to make it stand up more or less by itself (a note on this later), and to make the folds you’ve made “stick”. Let’s start small.

Socks.

One of the greatest revelations in the book is that socks don’t need to be folded over themselves to be kept together. Just fold them in halves or thirds depending on length, and line them up. Kondo says that this helps the socks to rest after the hard work of being between your foot and the ground or your shoe all the damn time, you monster.

Underwear gets a little bit more complex, and yet still very beautiful. Firstly can we talk about how much I love you all that I’m showing you my underwear? Not the fancy stuff. That’s for my husband’s eyes only. Deal with it. Here we go.

You want to fold the crotchal region up, then the outsides towards the inside, then in half again. Donezo!

T-shirts are a little more confusing and complex. I had a head start with this method because this is more or less how my husband has always folded his shirts (because his mum folded them like this, clever lady). Like the underwear, you want to make a rectangle then smaller rectangles (in fact that describes the majority of folding techniques in this method).

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Still with me? Okay so what about jeans & pants, I hear you say? Right. The key for pants is to tuck in the pointy crotch bit. ……………..

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Aaaaanyway. Observe! First, fold the legs against each other and fold the legs in half.

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Then – and this is key – fold the crotch point in. Sometimes I tuck it underneath the lower part of the legs but for the purpose of this photo I left the crotch point on top.

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Then you want to fold the jeans into thirds.

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I find that this is the number of folds to make pants and jeans the most stable. Depending on the fabric, length of legs and how you’re going to store them, this may be different for you. You might need more folds, or less (shorts would be fine in half, I think). It’s trial and error – use your judgment.

Same kinda thing for leggings, though you may find that they need additional folds for reasons described above:

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Tank tops are relatively straightforward – just make sure you fold the straps on the inside to keep things neat and to keep any fragile straps (which I don’t own, for huge boob reasons) protected. Again it’s just rectangles inside rectangles to make a neat rectangle.

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Now this next one is challenging. I am still working on getting better at these. The dreaded long sleeve shirt. Now, the basic method stays the same. Create a rectangle then smaller rectangles. It’s just hard because there’s more fabric. The key, I think, is to make the sleeves fold as flat against the first rectangle as possible. Like so:

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I didn’t bother taking pics of the rest of this, because it is mostly is exactly the same as the first shirt after this point. Fold one side of the shirt + sleeve in as usual then bring that sleeve back in line with the folded side. I hope this makes sense. Let me know if it doesn’t and I’ll try to take better pictures but I was running out of time (and space) at this point!

So, I wanted to also add a couple of notes about storage. The way you fold is going to be heavily influenced by how much room you have. For instance, if you have a long drawer and you don’t have enough stuff to fill the length of the drawer then you might have things falling over. These things should be posted with the “clean fold” up, and the open edge of the rectangle on the bottom of the drawer. That makes them more stable. But if they’re still flopping over the place and you don’t think they could benefit from different amounts of folds, then put them into boxes (shoeboxes work great for this) and put the boxes into drawers. Like I did with my pants and thermals:

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Kondo also talks about making your folded clothing into “bento boxes” – different folding directions and patterns can be very aesthetically pleasing 🙂 So I’ve been trying out different patterns with that too – including setting my tights on end like sushi rolls, lol.

I hope this helps with the folding technique questions!

I’m going to do a Favorites post soon, sorry I’ve been so neglectful but life has been fucking bonkers lately. I still love you guys I SWEAR! I’m going to try to be more organised for February.

As always, let me know if you have any requests for posts!

Love++
F&V

 

Style: My “Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” Experience

That’s right, I jumped on the bandwagon. Sue me. Give it a go. I have a great lawyer.

But no really, when I first read about this book I was skeptical. From what I was reading, the author recommended a lot of purging. Like, a lot. And I’m by no means a hoarder but I am quite materialistic so that made me a little nervous.

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My husband and I come from different backgrounds and we hold onto things for different reasons. I was worried that her recommendations would be too much upheaval for our household. It was important to me that I was respectful to his feelings. But I also strongly felt that I had too much stuff to ever feel like I had a tidy home.

A note on our home: we live in around 270 square feet of apartment space. For you Aussies and Brits and every single other country on earth, that’s about 26 square metres. Yep. It is insanely small. When you live in a small space, untidiness is not only more noticeable, it is really in your face and I found myself constantly trying to tidy which subsequently made me feel quite stressed out.

So I decided to give this book a try. A lot of people I knew and trusted had followed it with great success and none of them seemed to be sobbing with regret, or missing discarded items terribly. In fact, they all sung its praises.

So, let’s talk about the premise. Marie (Kondo, author) is a tidying guru in Japan. Her seminars book out instantly. She has a 3-6 month waiting list of clients. She’s hardcore. She advocates having ONLY what you need and what “sparks joy”, and discarding everything that does not meet these criteria. She uses that phrase a lot – “spark joy”. I’m going to be really honest with you. I’m still not clear on what exactly that means. There are some things I own that are necessary to my life, that I use all the time, that would be a great hindrance if I lost them – that do not ~~spark joy~~ in my heart when I touch them. But I like them? I love some of them? I feel like this book likes to attribute characteristics to objects that, to me, they do not hold. But that’s okay – I get her point. Keep things that you feel good about. Don’t keep stuff just “because”. Sure, ok!

I started with clothes. I got rid of a tonne of things that I had either not worn ever, or hardly ever worn, or that didn’t fit. I didn’t think I had any “maybe one day” items but turns out I did. No. Stop that. You deserve all of your clothing to be able to fit you now (unless you are pregnant etc in which case of course your entire wardrobe should not consist of maternity wear, that shit’s gonna end one day) so get rid of anything that doesn’t fit right or that doesn’t suit you.

One of the main tips she gives is to “thank” each item before sending it on its way. I like this! Instead of just callously trashing an item, thank it for whatever role it fulfilled in your life for however long (even if it was just “thanks for teaching me what styles DONT suit me”) was something that made me feel better about ditching things. She also talks about treating your items kindly, for example, don’t ball up your socks – just fold them because they have been working very hard and it’s nice for them to have a rest in your drawers, not be balled up and stretched all the time. Ok, sure, that makes sense. And it looks attractive. Bonus!

However, here is where I want to start in on my first “con” of very few cons. Sometimes, feeling that way about things makes them harder to discard, not easier. If you anthropomorphize objects too much, you run the risk of feeling guilty for throwing them away. For example, she talks about gifts. If the gift itself is not something you see yourself using, then the purpose of the gift is in the giving, in the care that someone took whilst choosing it and wrapping it for you, yes? Sure. That was its original purpose. But then I would think about how the person who gave it to me might feel, depending on the item’s significance. And that made it harder to give things away. Thoughts like “just because this [item] has a hole in it / is missing is pair, or because I don’t use it, doesn’t mean I should just throw it away, it served me well!” began to permeate. But – yes it does. It does mean that. So the respect/love-for-items philosophy can be a double-edged sword.

Ultimately I felt like the winning strategy for me was to just think of the end result. Will I ever think of this item again? Will there come a time when I think “gosh, I know tossing that shirt out made my place tidier but AT WHAT COST? IF ONLY I KNEW THEN WHAT I KNOW NOW ABOUT MY IMMEDIATE REQUIREMENT FOR THAT SHIRT AND NO OTHER SHIRT”? Almost certainly not was the answer in most cases.

The other great thing that I took from this book is how to fold things to be as neat and tidy, and, not gonna lie, aesthetically pleasing as possible. God, it’s so beautiful. She advocates the vertical storage method which is absolutely genius tbh. I had kind of done that with my t-shirts, because our set of drawers is not great and the drawers don’t really come out the whole way… that’s another story. But she said to store EVERYTHING this way, and I really see what she’s saying about this. It works great and looks really attractive and aesthetically pleasing on an organizational level. Let’s take a look at some highlights. I wish I had before pictures! But I don’t. So here we are.

IMG_0054Socks, tanks

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T-shirts

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Jeans, pants

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Pants, thermals, jarmie pants & sweats

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Hanging stuff – I tossed about half of this!

It was astonishing to me how much room I had left after I folded everything this way. I think that’s also because I got rid of a lot of things that I didn’t see myself wearing, and donated some warm stuff that I found I wasn’t wearing even though the weather was right for it. I took a large box of stuff to the local homeless shelter and threw out some stuff that wasn’t in great condition.

The rest of it didn’t hugely apply to me, honestly. We didn’t have a scrap of kitchenware (apart from a couple of very special pieces we got for our wedding which have not even been unpacked) so we bought or borrowed only EXACTLY what we needed and nothing more. We have two pasta bowls, four plates, four forks, four knives, three white wine glasses, etc etc. So not much work needed to be done there.

The other quite challenging part was my makeup. Now, you wouldn’t think having moved here in April would mean I had accumulated a tonne more makeup but you would be so wrong. Where have you been?! Anyway, there was a fair bit. There were a lot of items I’d purchased from the drugstore to “do dupe reviews” but that kinda never happened and I didn’t love them so they all went into the giveaway box. Same with things that were expired, and there was a decent amount of that too (sob, bye Chanel foundation). I had a kitchen-sized trash can full of stuff to throw out, and an overflowing shoebox to give away.

If I’m really real, I probably still have too much. But I’m only human.

I feel like this post ended up quite a bit longer than I planned (of course), so I will end it here. I also picked up Kondo’s new book, the “sequel” if you will, Spark Joy – An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up. I haven’t read a lot of it yet, but it appears to be a little bit of repetition of the first book, honestly. It DOES however have some illustrations for some of the more complex folding techniques she recommends which I have found VERY helpful!

So all in all, this was an extremely positive experience and I feel that I will really continue to utilize these techniques and hone them as I build a home for my family.

Would anyone be interested in a blog post that goes into any more detail than this one, on any particular subject? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading!

Love++
F&V

Life Stuff: The Role of New Friends in Reducing Homesickness

A few months ago, I wrote a post about being unbelievably homesick. I was in a pretty bad place. But all the incredible support I got following that post made me feel so much better. I got a few messages of solidarity that honestly were so touching and so affirming, like my feelings weren’t unreasonable and like the depth of my loss was not as outrageous as I secretly hoped it wasn’t. Phew!

So I’m insanely happy to tell you guys that I am doing way better. Life is feeling pretty good right now. And the major thing that changed is that we, and more importantly, I, made some fantastic friends.

When Ray started his job, we arranged a gathering of a bunch of the other law clerks and their partners. I worried that they wouldn’t like me, or that I was boring and that I wouldn’t fit in. But I needn’t have worried – they were so welcoming and as eager to make friends as Ray and I were, so that is what happened.

We started going to pub trivia every week and we have been moderately successful. Each night has a theme and some themes are more to our collective (or, indeed, individual, I’m looking at you on 90s boyband night LK & HR) strengths than others, but really that’s not the point. It gets us out of our apartment to somewhere that isn’t our respective places of employment.  We look forward to it so much. Our group is funny, smart and so much fun.

And that’s not to say that our jobs suck, either. I feel so fulfilled by my work, I truly love it. And I work with some incredible people who inspire me, crack me up, support me and teach me new things every day. The only reason we don’t hang out more after work is that they all have lil families they need to get home to, or second jobs. But I adore them so much.

The true nugget of this post though that I really want to dig down to, is how much I value the three girlfriends I have made within the group that started with Ray’s colleagues. The four of us all come from fairly different backgrounds, and have different jobs (even within the same vocation), and I love it. I love the intellectual stimulation, I love the hilarious stories about our families and the time to have, as cheesy as it is, girl-talk without partners around. I love the lack of pretense and the fact that we have all come to rely on each other for ways to stay sane in this small town.

I miss my girlfriends back home absolutely no less. I miss them like a big ol’ hole in my heart (… ahem.. excuse me while I pull myself together after typing that, it is unseemly to cry at the laundromat). But having a new group has been absolutely thoroughly crucial, absolutely key, to my (and our) newfound happiness in this sleepy little town in Vermont. It’s amazing how much more tolerable a previously intolerable situation becomes with some good, real friends around you. It turns out everyone was right: finding awesome friends DOES just take time. But even with that, I’m not sure everyone gets as lucky as I have been in this particular instance.

So in saying all that, this post is for you, CC. You know who you are. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for everything. You saved my sanity, and you brought the four of us together, and I may never be able to repay you. You opened my eyes and my mind to a lot of things I had never considered before (you Vermontified me a little bit!). And to the other 2 corners of our now-triangle: here’s to a 2016 of girls’ dinners, wine nights at Brix, maybe some snowshoeing? What even is that.. Tennis racquet shoes?! Hmmm. Anyway – I’m so excited and so grateful. Let’s do this.

Love+++
F&V

 

Rant: Pushing ~Natural~ Skincare – Can You Please Just Not.

It’s time we had a talk, guys. It’s about “natural skincare”. Wayne Goss, whom I usually LOVE SO MUCH, recently posted this on his blog and I was devastated. He also recommended putting Milk of Magnesia, straight, on your face on the reg (it is ok in very small doses, very irregularly – thanks Chanelle). Sure, it makes your skin look a little better (debatable) in the short term, but with long term, frequent use it can cause major bacterial proliferation. Jaclyn Hill recommends using sugar to scrub your face. Come ON guys! I don’t want to go on and on about this, so I’ll try to keep this short (spoiler alert: I failed). I also don’t want to tell people to stop doing what works for them. But this is a dangerous trend that I want to put in my US$0.02 about.

Look, everyone wants to be closer to nature, right? Everyone wants to save some money, everyone wants to seek out multi-use items. I get it. I really do. But some things can be as natural as hell, but still not great for your skin. In fact, some people can react really badly to natural ingredients. Sure, they can also react badly to synthetic ingredients, but those are often formulated to be less likely to make people’s skin fall off.

The bottom line is, not everything that is natural is good for your skin. Take oft-touted lemon juice for example. Your skin’s natural pH is somewhere between 4 and 5. It already HAS a natural acid mantle and this acid mantle is INCREDIBLY important. Lemon juice is extremely acidic – it has a pH of 2 (approx. 6% citric acid) – and can burn your skin. Some people manage to use it JUST fine. But I would suggest that those people are in the minority, and most people’s delicate facial skin will be irritated by this. Irritation can show up in a myriad of ways – it can be redness, small whitehead bumps, cystic pimples, dryness and even sores/blisters or burns. Same goes for baking soda. Baking soda + vinegar (also acidic, pH 2.4ish) is the kind of thing you clean stubborn stains from pans, sinks, drains and cooktops with. Do you really think you should put that on your face!? No. Stop it.

Sugar is jagged crystals. Same goes for anything like those awful apricot scrubs that are literally crushed apricot seeds.What! They’re sharp as hell. Sure, they’ll exfoliate the SHIT out of your face, but they’ll also create microtears around your pores and aggravate any problem areas you already have. Don’t do it. I’m a huge proponent for NEVER scrubbing your face with anything more abrasive than a muslin cloth. If you want to exfoliate, use something gentle that won’t mess around with your skin’s pH level. I personally use the Paula’s Choice AHA gel, because I find it works well for me, but if you are oily you might prefer the BHA. Dr Dennis Gross also does a wonderful exfoliant line. Don’t scrub your face! Microbeads, though smooth, are still not great for your skin, or necessary, and they’re REALLY bad for the environment (some States in the US are about to ban them). Body skin is different – it’s much tougher and thicker. Scrubs on the body are fine but I would still recommend doing this only once a week at MOST.

Things like bee pollen can also cause a huge allergic reaction. That’s a LOT of concentrated bee product to be putting on your face. Honey is much less concentrated in allergens but there isn’t very much health benefit in it – so eat it instead of wasting it by putting it on your face. It’s delicious.

Another common one is tea tree oil.  TTO does contain antiseptic, antibacterial properties, for sure. But please dilute it in another carrier oil like almond oil or another neutral oil before you dot it on your spots (DOT, people, don’t slather!). It’s REALLY strong!

Which brings me to the current wonder-product: coconut oil. I CONSTANTLY hear people say that this is all they use to remove makeup, wash their face or moisturize or whatever, any number of things. And it works brilliantly for them! Which is wonderful. Those people are probably not prone to acne though, because let me tell you something that is a scientific fact and not at all an opinion: coconut oil is EXTREMELY comedogenic (meaning that it blocks pores like a mofo). On a scale of 1 to 5, it is a 4. That’s basically just below … what is the most? Beef tallow? Engine oil? So please don’t put it on your face unless you have never had a pimple in your life. Or, by all means give it a red-hot go, but if you break out, don’t say I didn’t warn you! Put it in your food, use it for lube (seriously it’s great for that in my experience *eyebrow waggle*), but please be really careful using it on your face.

If you are still dead-set on using natural products, remember that science often loses to marketing. I dug up this great article on WebMD about things that actually probably/maybe do work, but note that even the “active soy” in one of the products mentioned has been altered in a lab to be more effective. Please also note “industry sponsored study” as a phrase to indicate taking results with a grain of salt.

Natural skincare doesn’t even necessarily save you money. Be very careful of expensive products containing cheap ingredients. It might be important to you that the ingredients in your skincare are sourced ethically, locally or organically, which is of course going to bump the price up. There is incredible, simple, cheap skincare available at the drugstore/pharmacy (Cetaphil, CeraVe etc) that works great for a lot of people. No need to spend an arm and a leg.

Finally: please remember that everything is a chemical. Water is a chemical. Lemon juice is a chemical. Salt is a chemical. Stop talking about things being chemical-free. You are made up of chemicals. If you don’t want to put chemicals on your skin then enjoy never bathing, touching food, dressing or leaving the house ever again. Hooray!

To me, this is a bit like the great Tim Minchin line from his excellent anti-alternative medicine animation, Storm, “You know what they call alternative medicine that’s been proven to work? Medicine.” I feel the same way about skincare. Technology is so incredible these days, and skincare / beauty etc is at the forefront (because $). Why shouldn’t we take advantage of the benefits? It can even help the environment. Synthesized ingredients stop the destruction of habitats by mass farming, for example.

Really, I don’t care what people do in their own homes that works for them. The thing that upsets me is when people, particularly people in positions of authority like WG and JH, make dangerous, bad recommendations to their friends or followers that could be disastrous.

Be safe, be careful, do your unbiased research, but mostly – do you boo.

Love,
F&V

 

#MaskVember – A Different Sheet Mask Every Sunday: Week 4 – Karuna Clarifying Face Mask (+selfies)

Karuna Clarifying Face Mask

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Skin status prior to application: Clean, dry, no moisturizer.

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Current skin condition: Actually pretty decent, some hormonal pigmentation, slightly dry.

Cost: $8 per mask or $28 for 4. Value is dece if the result is good.

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To use: Unfold mask, place cloth side over face and remove backing. Shift into position making sure all the bits are unfolded. Leave for 20-30 minutes then massage remaining serum into skin.

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During the mask: First off I’ll say that I was annoyed at first with this mask. It’s really wet, though not as wet as the TonyMoly one, and the instructions are bad. They say to position first and then peel the backing paper off but that is straight up bad advice. The backing paper is very stiff, you’re better off getting the basic placement done, peeling the backing away then adjusting the cloth mask. In saying that, once all the bits were in place, it was actually very secure and the different flap sections made the coverage very good. It felt comfortable, though cold, to wear, there was no stinging or anything.

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After: Massaging the serum into my skin felt really nice but as it dried it felt a little bit tight.

2 hours later:  My skin feels nice? I dunno, nothing spectacular, no grand difference in appearance or feel.

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Final verdict: Once again I really think I need to try one of these when I’m having an active breakout. Sorry I can’t give more info!

Well that’s the end of the mask series! It was fun to do, I hope it was helpful.

I thought I’d post some selfies from the last couple of days, I’ve been feeling my makeup lately, nothing special but I felt good.

Strangely I feel that the boost of confidence is from some new clothing purchases I made lately. Just some basics from Old Navy – some chambray shirts that are comfortable and casual and go great with my beloved Uniqlo …jeggings.. I mean, they’re not denim colored but you know what I mean. Pants. Stretchy comfy flattering pants. But anyway, on with the selfies!

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Dark berry/cherry toned reds have been the order of the month so far. Partly because it’s fall and partly because my husband loves these colors on me.

This week I’m going to try to get a post up on Tuesday or Wednesday then I’m off to Chicago for a few days. I’m meeting my beloved mother there, she’s flying from England to meet us, and bringing her amazing partner Dannielle with her so I can FINALLY introduce Dann to my husband, they’ve never met! Mum is then coming back with me to Vermont and we’re gonna hang for a week before I reluctantly send her home on a jet plane. So things might be a little quiet for a week or so while I bask in some maternal love!

Have a great week, teamsters.

Love++
F&V

#MaskVember – A Different Sheet Mask Every Sunday: Week 3 – Dr Jart+ Cheek & Eye Lift

Dr Jart+ Cheek & Eye Lift Targeted Hydrogel Patch for the “Apple Zone”

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Skin status prior to application: clean, dry – no moisturizer.

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Current skin condition: normal for me – oily/combo, a touch dry because of the weather. I felt that it was important to take a pic this time since this is meant to make your skin feel “lifted and firm”.

Cost: $12 for one mask, but I got mine in the Dr Jart+ Book of Masks (below) which is $39 ($56 value). Not great value IMO, the result would have to be remarkable!

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To use: Very similar to the last Dr Jart+ one – in that it’s a dry mask that you peel the backing from to reveal a gel surface that you place down onto your skin, this one is just for the cheek and eye area so it goes across the nose onto the apple zone (use a mirror), leave for 30 mins, peel off gently.

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During the mask: Same comments as last time do apply here. It’s very easy to apply, there’s no product dripping everywhere, I really like that aspect of it. It was comfortable while it was on, especially since it is only on one section of your face.

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After: Sadly I do not feel like this did anything for me. My skin felt exactly the same as before. But in saying that; I have relatively young/firm skin anyway because I’m oily – sagging isn’t really something I’m experiencing yet! So if you have dry skin that’s losing some elasticity I’d be really interested in your opinion of this mask!

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2 hours later: I was at a party and didn’t notice anything different! Sorry!

Next day: Absolutely no change or difference in the next-day condition of my skin.

Final Verdict: Would not buy again. It just doesn’t do it for me – mostly because as I said, it treats a problem I don’t have!

Side by side comparison:

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Note: I think the main reason the after looks better is that I was looking up more, lol! I also got my eyebrows threaded right between taking this pic and putting the mask on. Worst experimenter ever!

See you next week for the final installment…

Love++
F&V

#MaskVember – A Different Sheet Mask Every Sunday: Week 2 – Dr Jart+ Water Fuse Hydrogel Mask

Dr Jart+ Water Fuse Water-Full Hydrogel Mask

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Skin status prior to application: Clean skin, not moisturized.

Current skin condition: “normal” for me, a little oily in the t-zone, combination, dry-ish because of the weather. A couple of almost-completely-healed pimples in the middle of the eyebrows.

Cost: $9.00 for one mask, $42.00 for 5 masks. Not amazing value, but let’s see the results before we make an official call.

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To use: Remove from packaging, peel film away from mask, place gel-side down onto face in 2 sections (hint: use a mirror). Leave on for 20-30 mins.

During mask: Ok so I want to use this moment to talk about how GREAT this mask is to apply. I loved it. The mask itself is DRY! Let me explain. While it has the film over it, it feels like … felt material? And the other side is glossy stiff paper. Then you peel that part away and on the other side to the felt is a sticky gel, and that’s the part that goes down on your face. This has multiple benefits. Firstly, it’s really clean to apply. You don’t have a drippy, wet, floppy mask to try to position onto your face. Secondly, it sticks beautifully once it’s down. THIRDLY, it makes you feel less cold and wet while it’s on. Hallelujah! One main drawback is that you can’t really reposition it, well you can, but it loses some of its stick. But this is such a small problem really! It’s such a great mask to use. It feels comfortable while it’s on, you don’t have to constantly adjust it and make sure it’s not sliding off. A+ usage factor! Whee! Note: by the end, this was a bit more annoying. The dryness and lack of moisture meant that the stickiness kind of wore off and I had to keep pressing it back onto my face.

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You can see above why I wish I had looked in a mirror to apply it, it’s a bit wonky around the mouth and eye area. Oh well!

After: My face was completely dry. Not uncomfortably, but not like the usual leftover serum to massage in. I added a smidgen of my usual sleep balm and went to bed.

COSDNA Analysis: http://cosdna.com/eng/cosmetic_c505200167.html – no issues at all though some might not love the mineral oil factor.

2 hours later: …. ummm

Confession time: I was mildly tipsy while I did this mask. It was 1am by the time I peeled it off so I went straight to sleep. Sorry!

Next day: My skin feels great! Nothing miraculous (but I never expect miracles), but it felt plump and moisturized and bright and comfortable. Not oily at all, not dry, just comfortable.

Final Verdict: I’m really really impressed with this mask. I think I will try to pick up a few more at some point. It’s a little more expensive than I would like, but I do think it’s a worthwhile cost. The dry, un-soaked, gel style is so pleasant to use compared to the usual sheet mask that’s dripping with product and sliding all over the place. Big fan! Dr Jart+ does it again.

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How Really NOT To: Babby’s First Z-Palette

So, I decided to buy a Z-Palette in the Sephora sale. I don’t have very many de-pottable shadows, but I’m probably going to grab some Makeup Geek ones soon and they need a palette to go in. So I picked up this saucy little number on the last day of the sale (along with a much-awaited shade from the Kat von D Everlasting Liquid Lips range – Nosferatu!).

When it arrived, I grabbed some eyeshadows that I could de-pot and confidently set to work. First up, I grabbed “Wedge” by MAC and stuck the spatula that comes with the palette into the side of the container between the metal pan and the plastic. Then, I tried to pry it up. Hmmm. This seems.. weirdly difficult..

Of course, I cracked the eyeshadow. In fact, I made a mess of it. Oops. Eventually I tried the straightening iron method – put the plastic case of the eyeshadow on the plate of the iron and let it get warm. It kinda worked. But I needed more meltage.

… Wait I’m meant to put some foil on the plate? Ok. That makes sense. Melted plastic on my GHDs wouldn’t be good.

Ok that’s better. I pried the palette out finally, then used an alcohol swab to clean the glue from the bottom of the pan. The pan isn’t magnetic of course. Typical. I added one of the little sticky magnetic plates, put it in the palette and I was done.

Next I had an Urban Decay eyeshadow (Half Baked, one of my favorite eyeshadows OF LIFE). It was initially easy, because the pan just pops out of the main container, but NOOOooo, the part that pops out is still in a plastic thing aaaargh okay okay I’ll just do the same thing I did before.

The bottom of the plastic actually got a little bit melted itself which was good, because I needed to use a pin to push the metal palette up out of the thing. It eventually happened but it was REALLY DIFFICULT and once again the eyeshadow got a little messed up. I just re-set it with alcohol though. Sigh

The final eyeshadow was a Sephora one. I opened the container and wow, a little divot right next to the edge of the pan, PERFECTLY SIZED for putting my spatula into! No glue! So easy! Oh and it’s magnetic! YAYYY ok this was great and fine, and took about 15 seconds total. THANK YOU SEPHORA!

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The final verdict? Not really worth it. I’ll only use this in the future if I don’t have to de-pot, ie for shadows that come in pans already. Hmph.

Love+++
F&V

#MaskVember – A Different Sheet Mask Every Sunday: Week 1 – Tony Moly Rice Mask

So as you can guess from the title, I decided to do a little project for November to motivate myself to get back on board with blogging regularly. Every Saturday night in November I’ll be putting myself through the arduous task of applying a different sheet mask and analyzing the results. Yes, yes I know. I’m a brave soul.

Before I get started, it’s important to note that I do not really believe that one application of a sheet mask can make anything but a superficial difference to the condition of my skin. There’s nothing wrong with that obviously, when my skin feels nice I’m happy, but I just want you to know I’m not expecting miracles here.

There is value in doing things that just feel nice briefly. Self care is really important and what could be better than putting on a sheet mask and relaxing? I painted my nails (loving the CoverGirl Outlast polishes, by the way!) and watched some Netflix, but you could put on some music, lie back and relax (this has the bonus of making the sheet mask lie better on your skin, because gravity). You could do some coloring in your choice of adult coloring book. You could organize your makeup. You could write a blog post. Do whatever you want! But taking time for yourself is key.

Now that that’s all said and done, let’s get started on Week 1.

Tony Moly “I’m Real” Rice Face Sheet Mask – Clear Skin

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Skin status prior to application: Clean skin, not moisturized.

Current skin condition: Normal for me, ie combination – no current active blemishes, texture uneven, large pores, oily t-zone and dry cheeks (I probably should have taken a before photo. Oops!).

Cost: $7.50 for a twin pack, excellent value.

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To use: Remove from package and gently position over cleansed skin. Leave on for 20-30 mins. Remove sheet. Massage remaining serum into skin. Ok!

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During mask: Parts around mouth hole (lol) were very flappy and not very secure, I had to keep smoothing them down onto my face above and below my lips. the rest was very secure

After: Serum is viscous enough to stay on the skin, and slippery enough to provide a nice base for a facial massage (clean hands).

COSDNA analysis: No major issues – http://www.cosdna.com/eng/cosmetic_ce7d191543.html

2 hours later: Skin still feeling very well moisturized, a little tacky to the touch, no dry patches or tight feeling. Night time mask only.

Next day: First impressions were good. My skin felt soft, my forehead and nose were a bit oily but that’s pretty normal for me upon waking up. However, when I looked in the mirror, I had two surface pimples right between my eyebrows. This is a classic place for me to get “reaction” pimples, as opposed to my usual hormonal ones that appear around my chin and jaw, or normal breakouts.

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Confession time: You know how I said this was a twin-pack? Well, I actually used the first of these a couple of months back. And it gave me a couple of small pimples then, too. That’s why I didn’t use the second one for a long time. But then I thought, ok so I bet that was just a once-off, maybe it was from something else! Alas, no.

Final verdict: Nope. Won’t be buying again. And if this is the “clear skin” product, I certainly won’t be trying any of the others in the range either.

Stay tuned for next week, dear readers.

Love+++
F&V

Haul at Halloween: MAC, Sephora, CVS + Wedding Anniversary!

I can’t really call it a Halloween Haul, because none of the products are spooky. Sorry.

I was in Burlington, Vermont last week for a work training event. This was exciting because I got to visit some stores I don’t have ready access to most of the time – namely MAC and, to a lesser extent, Sephora. There is one of those in my parents-in-law’s town, but the one in Burlington is bigger and the staff have historically been better and nicer to me.

At MAC, I had a look at their current seasonal gift range and felt decidedly uninspired. I had however had my eye on one of the Paint Pots in “Groundwork”.

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As you can see, it’s a really nice neutral brown. It’s a tiny bit warm but not too warm, kind of a taupey-brown, and totally devoid of shimmer so it’s perfect for toned-down winter workdays where you just want to swipe on some long-lasting eyeshadow and stumble out the door into the cold. This is my fourth Paint Pot and they’ve all impressed me so far. I’m sure Groundwork won’t let me down.

You can get it from MAC for $22 in the USA or Australia for $35.

Next up I shuffled off to Sephora and grabbed one of the Kat von D Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks that I’ve been pondering over for awhile (this purchase thanks to a long and in-depth conversation about this product and its many beautiful shades with my bestie Mem) – Bauhau5.

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It’s kind of a deep berry-pink tone. I have not yet put it onto my lips but when I do, I assure you I will post on instagram (you can find me there @freedomandvanity) because I really feel like I’m going to love it, like I love all of its siblings (some of them are boys, you see, like Echo). As I have stated many times, you can grab these from the Sephora US site for $22 and maybe even the Australian site by the time this goes up but I don’t really want to talk about the crapshow that the Australian Sephora site launch has been, tbh. If you’re in Australia and you have a choice, please go with Mecca Cosmetica they’re just so much better. Sadly, KvD is Sephora only.

I picked up one of my favorite brow products, the Anastasia Beverly Hills DipBrow. Before, I had it in the shade “medium brown”. It has occurred to me recently that this is actually too warm for my brows, it’s got a reddish tinge to it that looks a little strange at close examination, so I decided to grab “ash brown”.

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I think it’s going to be much better even just at first glance.  I’ll keep you updated, fair readers. ABH is available at quite a few places, but I get it from Sephora for $18 in the USA and in Australia you can get it from AdoreBeauty for $39 and from a couple of other places too, but the shades are a little different which is confusing. Ok ok I caved and went to Sephora.com.au, and they have it for $30 with all the right shades YOU WIN THIS ROUND, SEPHORA AUSTRALIA.

I’ve been vacillating about buying some of the Ceramidin products from Dr Jart+ (my latest skincare love) for awhile now, because in winter my skin entirely forgets how to hold moisture and ceramides are great for holding moisture in the skin longer than other moisturizing ingredients, and creates a protective barrier. I saw this nifty little sample kit of the liquid (serum) and cream moisturizing products so I grabbed it, it was the last one.

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So far I really like both these products, they’re light enough to absorb rapidly, but not so much that I feel like it all disappears and I have to reapply. Strangely, I can’t find this pack on the Sephora site anymore but you can get these products for $39 and $48 respectively. Check Sephora.com.au for these as well.

I also grabbed a sample of the Dr Jart+ Water Fuse Water-Max Sleeping mask and so far I freakin’ LOVE IT you guys. It’s probably the thing that I’m most excited about. But it’s relatively pricey at nearly  $50. Eep! Still, it feels so nice, I think I’m going to grab it. Sleeping Masks have always been a bit mysterious to me, but having tried this one, it feels different to a normal moisturizer because some of the product appears to stay on the skin. It absorbs overnight though, leaving my skin super soft and not greasy. Hooray!

I popped into CVS as well and picked up a CoverGirl Outlast nail polish from the Star Wars range. It’s a kind of greige color – grey/beige/taupe. The name is “Speed of Light”.

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I think it set me back around $6-7, you can get it from any number of places that sell CoverGirl.

I read recently on Lily Pebbles’ blog that Maybelline had released a new creamy matte range. I couldn’t find that exact range but I found something where the shade names matched, in a matte formulation, so I picked up “Siren in Scarlet”.

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Does that look like a “me” color or what? I’m gonna wear it tonight (pub trivia), keep an eye out on my instagram.

It was my first wedding anniversary recently and my amazing husband got me two very coveted Charlotte Tilbury products – Filmstar Bronze & Glow and the Lip Cheat in Pillow Talk. First of all can we talk about the amazing packaging?!

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So luxe! And on the inside of the palette, we have a lovely cool-toned bronzer/contour shade and a very finely milled highlight.

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It’s hard to even use them to be honest, they’re so nice. But I’m going to anyway. Best husband ever!

So that’s my latest … acquisitions.. I’m sorry I don’t have many pictures of me wearing them! I honestly haven’t been wearing much makeup lately, I’ve been really busy and prioritizing sleep over makeup application. Heh!

Thanks for reading!

Love+++
F&V