Monday, July 30, 2018

July 2018 Shopping Reflections

Given that I'm expecting a significant change to my proportions within a year, I'm starting to steer myself away from shopping for new clothes, at least for things for which my sizing needs and the fit are likely to change the most dramatically. I may not stop shopping for clothes entirely, and it's still possible that I could come across a coat or dress or something that's somewhat fitted at the bust, but that I still want desperately and buy anyway. (Though if it happens, I hope I thought about it carefully and factored in the risk of it not fitting properly after!)

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I've been completely in love with Alighieri jewelry, and their "Jaja" necklace was my big purchase of the month. And I may be planning an additional purchase next month, though I hope it'll be out of my system after that. It's extravagant of me, but because I spent two to three weeks constantly stalking the brand and the specific pieces I was thinking about the most before making my choice, I knew it wouldn't be a mistake in terms of the risk of the item going unworn. I bought the necklace from Farfetch, and horror of horrors - forgot to use Ebates, only later discovering it would have been eligible for a whopping 14% cash back! I have the Ebates button on my browser, but sometimes it doesn't alert me when I'm shopping from an eligible site. Still kicking myself for that!

When it comes to my minimalist-ish journey towards more conscious (and thus, frugal) shopping, the biggest and most dramatic transformation has always been in my beauty and skincare shopping. As a law student, I used to get to Sephora VIB status every year even though most of my substantial skincare routine wasn't even purchased there. That was just... wacky, and I still don't know how it happened when I look back on it now. I may have been sucked in by magazine ads back when I was a teen (from YM, Seventeen, and Teen Vogue back in the day) and then by the first wave of popular makeup tutorials on Youtube, all of which implied that it was "normal" to have an ample makeup and skincare collection. (Even though I didn't enjoy makeup that much, there are obvious physical limits on how much skincare product one could possibly use, and products expire.)

Regardless, I'm now completely reformed, never have a chance of getting to VIB, buy approximately one refill a year for most of my makeup products, and have a significantly pared-down skincare routine. I don't track my beauty and skincare spending closely anymore, but it's only things like an extra bottle of cleanser (Cerave Foaming from the drugstore, which K and I both use) or other drugstore-priced item here or there that are missing from these posts.

Fashion - (TOTAL: $296.57)
  • Uniqlo Linen Blend Long Cardigan - $29.90 - I bought this cardigan in gray (sold out) at the start of summer, and absolutely loved it. The linen blend material is light and thin (no issues with it snagging, though), making this sweater easy to throw on over my summer outfits, mainly while I'm indoors in air conditioning. It looks great over skirts and dresses, and the blue (a shade lighter and a touch brighter than navy) works well with my mostly navy and black work wardrobe and summer wardrobe. (Practically all my casual summer dresses are also black or navy, even though I've tried, in the past, to look for other colors.)
  • Alighieri "Jaja" Necklace - $266.67 - I totally love this, though it's a bit hard to describe how it looks. All of Alighieri's work is very different from any other jewelry I've been interested in before, more irregular in shape, intentionally "imperfect", time-worn, and organic-feeling. The necklace is reversible, and is open and hollow when you look at it from the back. I found that, in person, it was a tiny bit smaller (and thus a touch more wearable) than I thought it looked in most online photos. (I had otherwise been worried that the pendant might look a little too large for such a delicate chain, and for the length of the necklace, which is around ~19'' and hangs just past my collarbones.) 

Beauty and Skincare - (TOTAL: $93.49)
  • Olaplex Hair Perfector No. 3 - $28.00 - I bought this for my ongoing struggles with a straight perm gone bad. I've been using it weekly for nearly five weeks. It's a small bottle, so I might only have another five to six weeks left in it. It has some benefit, makes my hair feel smoother, healthier, and less tangled for the first few days after each use, but the benefit doesn't last long, and seems to fade by the next time I use it a week later. The best way to tell if it's been making a lasting difference is probably to go without for a few weeks after I run out. 
  • Tarte Amazonian Clay Waterproof 12-Hour Concealer - $25.00 - This is a longtime holy grail item for me. I don't have particularly good makeup skills, and find most concealers difficult to blend and apply. This is the only one I've tried that I can work with effectively. Because it's a stick, it's easy to apply straight to my face with no brush, and I tap with my finger to blend.
  • NARS Pro-Prime Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base - $26.00 - I wish this came in different packaging that made it easier to get out of the tube, and the amount of product it contains is tiny, but this is by far the best eyeshadow primer I've tried. (I'm allergic to Urban Decay primer portion and Too-Faced Shadow Insurance primer can separate in the tube, resulting in an oily mess.) I only wear eyeliner (Bobbi Brown gel), no eyeshadow, but my eyelids get oily, and eyeliner absolutely won't stay put for even a few hours without primer. 
  • CosRx Aloe Soothing Sun Cream - $14.49 - (cheapest on Amazon) I typically use Biore Watery Essence sunscreen, but wanted to try something different. I've only been using this sunscreen for about two weeks, but it's been good. It has a thicker lotion texture, rather than the gel texture of the Biore, so it doesn't apply quite as easily or smoothly, but there's no white cast and makeup goes on easily over it. If I had to pick, I'd still stick to the Biore, as it blends in to the skin a bit quicker and easier, and is often more cost-effective. (The lowest Amazon prices for Biore are often from sellers based in Japan, so shipping can be slow.) 

What did you shop for this month? Any other reformed former Sephora VIBs out there, or anyone else who has dramatically cut their beauty and skincare spending in recent years? When I look back, I have no idea how I used to spend so much at Sephora (some of it from throwing in extra lip balm or a bottle of nail polish to meet the free shipping threshold), and it makes me slightly nauseous to think of all that wasted money! It's certainly a cautionary tale about getting totally sucked in by advertising and consumer culture without realizing it.

For other takes on beauty spending, Luxe recommends a very sensible one-in, one-out approach. I was also entertained by YAPFB's take on the rather disorienting experience shopping at Sephora can be when one is not a longtime beauty and skincare overspender like I used to be. It does make me feel a little sillier about my past habits!

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