Archive for March 2014

De-cluttering make-up brushes

Today I'm writing about some items that I'm de-cluttering in my home and why. I think sometimes we just need another perspective on how we can live without an item and why we don't need yet another thing busting out of our cabinets and closets.

This week, I'm getting rid of 11 (yes, I know it's ridiculous) extra make-up brushes that I have had for years. The truth is I have my favorites that I always use and these were just on standby in my bathroom cabinet in case I ever needed them for, oh I don't know, some fancy gala that I plan to go to and I want to really perfect my make-up. Okay, so let's dissect that for a second.

a. I don't go to galas anymore. I go to the park, date nights (movie and Mexican) and baby showers.

b. If I do at any point get the opportunity to put on a ball gown and get dressed up for a night on the town, then I'm probably going to make the most of the experience and get my make-up done by a professional.

c. Because of a. and b., I decided that's it's time to let go of those brushes and the what ifs.

I mean if I ever really decide that I need a specific make-up brush for something then I can just go buy one. For the past few years, I haven't used any brushes that are in this make-up bag. So then why am I holding onto them? Out they go.

A teenager getting interested in make-up or maybe a new mom who wants to re-invent herself or freshen up her look can obtain my old brushes at my local thrift store for pennies on the dollar. It's just a shame for me to hold onto things when it could be the very item that someone else has been looking for.

So here are my current brushes that I'm keeping in my make-up bag.
1. Blush brush - doubles as a powder brush. I haven't been using powder lately - going for a more dewy, natural look. I mostly use cream blush so I may be able to do away completely with this brush soon. Which, as you probably know makes me happy. The less stuff, the happier I become and I'm a fan of anything that I can apply with my fingertips.

2. Eyeshadow brush that can also be used to apply highlighter on my face. Right now I'm using my fingertips for applying highlighter so I typically only use this for eyeshadow, but it can do double-duty when needed. I generally only wear eyeshadow at night or for special occasions.

3. Eyebrow brush and honestly the eyebrow brush could potentially be used as eyeliner brush but I just haven't tried it yet.

So that's it. That's my make-up arsenal. Not fancy but certainly functional and minimalist. Just the way I like it. I like to fit all my toiletries and cosmetics into a small bag in case I need to quickly jet to the city (which almost never happens) or hop a plane to Paris. You know in case my husband invites me on a spontaneous getaway to Europe, I can grab my one make-up bag quickly. Hey, one can dream right? :)

Simple is the answer

I often work with clients who have trouble with depression and anxiety. Add to that someone coming in their house and going through their things and it's enough to send anyone into a frenzy. So this is why I advise clients who are struggling with feelings of being overwhelmed or anxious, to simplify. Removing the burden of choices from your life will in essence remove anxiety. It sounds stupidly simple but the truth is, it works.

For instance, I was recently working through a client's jewelry collection only to discover that she had many options or variations of almost the same earring. They looked so similar that really she just needed to pick her favorite pair and toss the rest. When someone is struggling in depression and is just surviving day to day, the last thing that person needs is to be burdened by options. Pick the simple earrings: your favorite ones. Your go-to pair. Maybe it's the diamond studs or that favorite pair of gold hoops. In this case, for someone who needs room to breathe in their life, I recommend coming up with a comfortable number for your jewelry. A capsule jewelry collection perhaps. Pick 5 classic earrings and donate the rest. Here's an example:
1. pearl studs
2. diamond studs
3. silver or gold hoops
4. a funky earring (either in color or style)
5. dressy earring (something appropriate for cocktail attire)

All 5 are excellent choices and would for sure work with any number of outfits. I feel like you can't go wrong with these classic pieces.

Let's not make life harder than it is. We all go through tough times and tough seasons. Give yourself a break and treat yourself to simple. Simple everything!

Re-focusing my priorities

In the midst of the worst and challenging season that we have been through with our son, I overhauled our entire file system. We recently received the diagnosis that our son has speech and developmental delays and that he is on the autism spectrum. So, you may be wondering why in the midst of all that, would I be working on house projects, organizing and deleting files. But what do you do when you are stressed? Some people run, others cook and still others get a coffee with a friend and some of us: well, we organize.

With my son's diagnosis, I had no idea whether I would need to buy special items, toys or materials to work with him and help him cope. I had re-organized his closet but I felt the need to have my house very organized and to clear out the clutter to make room for what was coming in terms of physical space but also emotional. I needed our filing system to be so detailed and organized that if I needed to locate something for my son's therapist or doctor then I could immediately put my hands on it.

This isn't your typical Chic Planner post but I hope it still inspires you anyway. No matter the problems you face in life, don't be a slave to your home. Let it work for you and not the other way around. When life throws challenges your way, I find that scaling back and making things simpler makes life easier for us. With all the therapy and doctors appointments coming down the line for my son, my husband and I have determined that we have two goals right now and we measure all future commitments and activities against them.

first goal: to be debt free including our mortgage. The burden of debt weighs on one's marriage, physical health, emotional health and ability to live and enjoy life to its fullest. It also inhibits generous giving because how can you give what you don't have or what your paying to car loans and student loans? Steve and I recently paid off my student loan from college but now we are working on paying off his very expensive master's degree from a private school. When trips and potential dinners come up, they are measured against this goal. Will this opportunity help us in achieving our goal or not? This is the question we ask ourselves before we commit to anything.

second goal: to get help and therapy for our son. When we take care of our family first and make sure that everything is being done to get family members the help they need, then the impact will be a better and stronger marriage, a more peaceful home and living environment, improved relationships and less stress. So in this goal, we ask ourselves, how will this activity/opportunity help our son/family? If it won't, then at this time, we may say, "no". And that's okay. Because these goals may only be for a season until we get over this hurdle.

I encourage you to consider what is your top priority for your life/family. Are you measuring all future commitments against this?

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