project use it up: February empties + declutter



February 2018 empties

  • Nature’s Gate Revitalizing Jojoba + Sacred Lotus shampoo – I returned to Nature’s Gate after several failed forays into low poo options. NG works for my hair and doesn’t weigh it down.
  • ACURE pore clarifying facial scrub – this is a very mild, red clay scrub. I like alternating this one with the regular green scrub from the same brand.
  • alba acnedote astringent – my go-to acne treatment for hormonal (re: PMS) breakouts. Non-drying and just the right amount of salicylic for my sometimes sensitive skin.
  • Nature’s Gate whitening toothpaste – I meant to order the Kiss My Face but this one was just as good. Sometimes too minty for me.
  • Eden’s Garden Breathe Easier synergy blend – a blend of citrus and mint that really clears up a stuffy nose. This is my third bottle and I will be repurchasing.
  • Laneige water sleeping mask – not an empty, but I’ve noticed that I break out every time I use it. No noticeable difference in my skin. I’ve had a similar reaction to other K-skincare brands. I’m not sure what upsets my skin, but I’ll stick to my regular routine.
  • Solgar B Complex “50” – Just a good ol’ b complex blend. I like this particular line. Effective and affordable.


I’m making an effort to use up my packaged tea before I try any new blends. These are the blends I used up in February.

February 2018 empties

  • Tea India Chai Moments Milk Tea – instant milk tea. picked these up at an Indian festival as a treat.
  • Traditional Medicinals Weightless blend – I have issues with water retention and this helps move things along. This is not a *weightloss* tea. It is an herbal blend to ease water retention and a sluggish liver (I don’t have a gallbladder, so it helps).
  • Traditional Medicinals EveryDay Detox Lemon blend – again, not a weightloss tea. Mostly dandelion to ease water retention and clear up a sluggish bile tract.
  • Bigelow benefits radiate beauty blend – a very nice berry blend with skin-loving herbs. I’m not sure it cleared up my skin, but I like the flavor.
  • Triple Leaf Chrysanthemum tea – just a classic tea. Sometimes helps when I have tummy trouble. My Chinese coworker says Chrysanthemum tea is used in Chinese medicine to balance an off system.
  • Noveltea Oliver Lemon Twist – a lemongrass scented tea. Lovely, mild taste and cute packaging (it comes in a book-shaped box).
  • Zhena gypsy tea sampler – Egyptian Mint (green and mint) and Italian Chamomile (chamomile and rose hip) – classic flavors, just a nice sampler set.



I konmaried the house nearly two years ago, but it’s time for a review. I’m not engaging in a full-blown konmari declutter, but I am looking to eliminate/donate items that no longer serve.

I started with a review of my kitchen storage (not my pantry). This picture was taken half-way through the process. There were a few more items added to the pile, but it’s a modest selection compared to my first konmari declutter.

February 2018 declutter

An unexpected addition was my microwave (not pictured, obvs). It started to burn out (I could smell the wires burning), so it was time to toss. I am not replacing it. I didn’t use it enough to justify a replacement, and I’m finding alternatives to meet my heating needs. I’m also loving the amount of counter space it freed up 🙂


project use it up: January empties

project use it up-2


2018 empties #1

  • Renew Life Extra Care Ultimate Flora probiotics – these are easy to find when I need something extra
  • Gaia Herbs – Back Elderberry Syrup – takes delicious and really helps boost my immune system when I’m surrounded by sick students
  • Gaia Herbs Quick Defense – this is a super dose of elderberry and echinacea (among other hers) that makes a huge difference when I feel a cold coming on (I’ve used it in the past when fighting a really nasty cold and last year’s flu)

Toiletries & Skincare

2018 empties #1

  • Andalou Naturals Un-tinted Benefit Balm – I use this for the SPF 30. It leaves a mild white cast but it almost acts as a primer for my makeup. It’s not my favorite, but it works for every day sun protection.
  • Acure Facial Cleansing Creme – I prefer the regular cleanser, but my skin was feeling a little dry and sensitive, so I decided to give this one a try. It feels like a balm cleanser and works best as a second cleanse after removing makeup.
  • NOW Hyauluronic Acid Firming Serum – I love this and started a new bottle as soon as I ran out. It’s very light and acts as a moisturizing serum beneath my oil and sunscreen steps.
  • Botanical Beauty Organic Japanese Camellia Seed Oil – there is some debate as to whether the purity of this oil (amazon comments controversy, as per usual), but I credit this with helping my hair grow and become more smooth and manageable. It is my only form of conditioner and I use it on my ends and the lower half of my scalp where I tend to have some mild psoriasis. I love it and I already opened a larger bottle.
  • Johnson’s Head-to-toe extra moisturizing bath – I needed some moisture and I like baths.
  • The Beauty Shelf green tea Konjac sponge – I really like Konjac sponges and this one comes in a three heart set 🙂

Scents & Candles

2018 empties #1

  • Nature’s Alchemy orange essential oil
  • AuraCacia Lemon essential oil
    • I like citrus scents. These are from my office oil collection.

2018 empties #1

  • Frostbeard Book Lovers’ Soy Candle sample in Pumpkin Juice – this was milder than I expected. It has a nice spicy scent and does not linger.
  • Wilfred Wax Steamed & Frothed – one of my favorites. It’s soooo sweet though, a little goes a long way. I will replace this when I run out of my other candles.

video (and more): empties, decluttering, and birthday acquisitions

Firstly, a long overdue empties featuring a few items from Project Use it Up 🙂 (success!)

I also used up two fandom tea samples from Adagio Teas (decaf rooibos blends that were great for after dinner), and a pen(!). Being a pen hoarder, every pen is an accomplishment.


And, since I was on vacation, I decided to give my closet and makeup collection another cull. The result, 1 bag of clothes (mostly winter and workwear) and a few products that were lackluster or caused irritation (or both).



However, as it was my birthday on Tuesday, I did receive some newness, and made a few additions to my summer wardrobe.

Presents from the boy, new teas and a teapet (also Adagio), new treats, 1 tank, 1 blouse, 1 long-sleeve tee, a flashy necklace for flashy days, and a pair of strappy Crocs (my version of rain boots for work days).






Also, a travel size lippie from Milk makeup in O.G. Red (love it!), a tissue mask, and my birthday gift from Sephora; plus, a tube of Kosas lipstick in Royal (these feel so soft and nourishing, with brilliant color).




life: project use it up! update

In lieu of a proper “view from Sunday”, I give you a quick little update on “project use it up,” wherein I commit to using the stuff I have before purchasing replacements or backups. It’s all part of my goal to live more intentionally and minimally.


My goals included using up my collection of scented candles (impulsively purchased throughout the year) and at least two of my perfumes. I used up nearly all my candles, and currently burning Wilfred Wax’s steamed&frothed, along with my favorite vanilla from IKEA, and a Healing candle from the Crystal Journey collection sold at my local Whole Foods.


Time to clean these out and repurpose!


I decided to shelve Honey & the Moon until the fall (it’s just too warm a scent for spring/summer) and am only a few spritz away from using up my spirit of moonflower from The Body Shop.




I also used up two pens, which was not part of the original plan, but deserve recognition, nonetheless. I am a pen hoarder by nature, though I’ve seriously decreased my collection over the last two years, and have made a concerted effort to only replace those I really love.



video: using things up… Empties #2!

In an effort to make better use of the things I buy, I give you my second Empties video 🙂

Lots of products mentioned here, including health stuff, bath stuff, and some general lifestyle bits. I intended to list them all, but life happened and I lost track of time. So just watch for details and feel free to leave any questions in the comments. 🙂 I’m happy to share my thoughts on all and any products mentioned, or feel free to leave a recommendation.

Apologies for video quality issues, I noticed some blurring as I was editing, but I recycled all the products before I watched the video. Lesson learned.


vlog: in which I reveal my consumerism

I did it. I filmed an empties video. I’m not a strict lifestyle vlogger, but I do enjoy me some empties videos, and I like the fact that they’re like mini reviews of products rather than brand focused. Also, in moving towards a “minimalist” lifestyle, I am making a concerted effort to use up products, especially items I bought on a whim or just want to finish before moving on to something else. My goal is to get rid of the stuff I’ve accumulated in a strategic way and share my thoughts with others so they can make informed decisions. 🙂

Click through for a list of the products mentioned.

Also, in the spirit of decluttering, I joined Mercari. Currently have two Coach bags listed, if anyone’s interested 🙂.

Continue reading “vlog: in which I reveal my consumerism”