#projectuseitup: quarantine empties #4

Empties from the last quarter of 2020. What I used, what I recommend, what I’d buy again.

the supplements…
  • Vitafusion Melatonin gummies – the only form of melatonin that helps me sleep and doesn’t give me nightmares. I’ve been using these for a few years and continue to repurchase.
  • NatureMade Magnesium Citrate – Citrate is supposed to be the most readily absorbable form according to research I did a while back… this one relaxes my muscles when they’re tight without making me too tired or weak. Will repurchase.
  • MyKind Organic Elderberry Gummies – I started taking elderberry after having a bad flu in 2016. It’s gotten me through many a cold season, and I’ve been taking it semi-regularly since last March. It tastes good and also helps with my allergies, so might as well. (there’s plenty of research on elderberry if you search on PubMed)
  • Rainbow Light Women’s Multivitamin – I switch between individual and multis based on whatever weirdness is going on in my body and/or dietary changes (ie-B12 when I’m leaning into the plant-based meals). I’ve noticed changes in my hormonal issues while taking this one. (Recommended dose is 4 caplets, but I only take 2 to supplement what I get through diet).
face and body
  • Function of Beauty custom conditioner – FINALLY an empty! I was a little to extra when I customized this blend. It was WAY too rich for my hair but not moisturizing enough. It became the most expensive shave cream I’ve ever used.
  • CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion travel size – My skin was a little dry this summer and I happened to have this in my stash. Not my favorite, but it did the trick.
  • LaVanilla Healthy Deodorant – I love how these make my pits feel but it’s not always the most effective for stink control during the summer months.
  • ACURE Brightening Facial Scrub and Seriously Soothing Cleansing Cream – frequent repurchases and two of my favorite face products, but I’ve switched these out for the Ethique plastic-free cleanser bar.
  • Sappho mascara – not an empty, but it’s more than a year old at this point and it started to smell weird… trash. It looks nice but transfers terribly!
  • Schmidt’s Wondermint toothpaste – I think I found this at Marshall’s in the pre-quarantimes… Anyhow, it was in my stash and I quite enjoyed it.
  • Trader Joe’s Hyaluronic Acid – not the best I’ve tried, but it’s HA so it did the job.
  • Bliss makeup melt cleanser – This stuff smells AWFUL! Like petroleum or something. I bought it to see if it worked as a dupe for the Glossier milky jelly, which I do actually really enjoy. It is NOT. I’m so glad it was a mini because I’m not sure I could’ve committed to the full size.
  • Evan Healy Rose Geranium Toning Face Mist – A lovely mist. This is my second time receiving it in the Whole Foods annual beauty bag and it’s just as nice as the first time. Leaves my face refreshed, but gets used up pretty quickly.
more face and body, plus miscellany
  • Brandless Body Scrub – this company is now defunct… their scrub was decent though.
  • Overtone Coloring Conditioner in Pink for Brown sample (not pictured: green for brown, red for brown): I LOVED the pink for brown! The sample size is enough for one application on my hair (long, straight, fine textured) and adds a vibrant tone to my sun-bleached ends with a subtler color on my roots. The green didn’t really work for me, but the pinks and reds are going to be repeats going forward! It takes a few weeks to wash out of my hair and gives my grays a pastel color.
  • Ethique ginger snap face scrub: not an empty but an intro! As I mentioned, I made the switch to ethique for face wash… The scrub is a little harsh, but the cleansing bar feels lush.
  • Adagio tea sample – birthday wish freebie tin. A sweet surprise.
  • Stabilo point 88 mini fineliner – these are some of my favorite pens, I have lots of colors to get through…
  • cheeky mouthguard – Disappointing product rather than an empty… I tried cheeky to replace my last mouth guard but the whole experience was a disaster. I ordered it last February, it took more than a month and no shipment (this was before lockdown). When it did arrive, it was poorly packaged, had no instructions, and was missing the supplies to ship it back. I almost asked for a refund but decided to send it after waiting so long. when I received it, the impression barely fit my teeth and was missing half my molars. I was so tired by then that I didn’t even bother to reach out to customer service again and called it a loss. I was holding on to them, trying to make them work, but it’s hopeless.

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#projectuseitup: quarantine empties, pt. 2

quarantine empties

Not going out is definitely having a positive effect on the number of things going out vs. coming in.

What I used up in June and July.

  • ACURE seriously soothing cleansing cream: hands down, my favorite cream cleanser my evening cleanse. It leaves my skin soft and smooth, and is a constant repurchase.
  • Rainbow Light Women’s Multivitamin: Rainbow Light is my favorite multivitamin brand. I used to take their Once Daily, iron-free blend but something about the formulation changed and started to make me nauseous. The Women’s Multi is a capsule and easy to swallow. It also includes several of the herbs and supplements I take for PCOS/hormone balance, so I don’t need to take a handful of pills.
  • Solgar B Complex 50: I’m a flexitarian and take B vitamins when I lean more heavily in a plant-based diet. I’ve since switched to a spray-based b12 (when needed) because I get my Bs in the multi.
  • Rosehip oil (blue bottle): Just a generic rosehip oil that I use as part of my nighttime skincare routine. Rosehip brightens my skin (it has vitamin C) and offers light moisture.
  • Adagio teas, Alexander Hamilton tea blend: Not a Hamilton thing, just a random sample I received with an order :). It was an unexpected treat; just the right amount of light coconut flavor in a mild green tea blend.
  • Candle minis Currently Reading by Novelly Yours, Old Books and Reading at the Cafe by Frostbeard: I’m systematically working my way through the candles I purchased in the last year. Novelly Yours was part of a self-care book box and smelled like a sweet coffee latte, while Old Books is an old favorite that smells like fresh grass (to me, at least) and Reading smells like a thick chocolate drink (better for winter, but I only had a little sliver left).

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project use it up: February empties + declutter

Empties

Lifestyle

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.

Tea

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.

 


Declutter

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

Health

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.

lifestyle: mini haul – detox market and sephora

It’s my birthday next week, so I’ve been a little spendy…

I really wanted to try the Suntegrity 5-in-1 tinted moisturizer sunscreen, but I didn’t want to spend $45 on another natural product that may or may not work for me, so I decided to try the Detox Market sample pack. For $9.99, the Detox Market lets you select up to 5 products to sample. Most of their products are high end, luxe, all natural, eco-concious beauty and skincare, which I’m all for… but I’m not willing to pay high end prices for something that may be all wrong for my skin. Their sample pack is perfect. I ordered the Suntegrity 5-in-1 in the shades Light and Golden Light, the RMS buriti bronzer, the Josh Rosebrook lift spray, and the Kahina eye serum.

Suntegrity 5-in-1 tinted moisturizer

Neither the light nor the golden light work for me. Both shades have an orange cast on my skin and require blending down my neck to look natural… while I like to protect my neck and decollete from the sun, I don’t appreciate having to blend a tinted product into my neckline. My first impression was that it smells and feels just like the Andalou Naturals Anti-Aging BB cream, which I used up last year. That product was not as orange, but I hated the slick feel it left on my skin. Suntegrity reminds me of that. If you have dry skin that isn’t neutral with yellow undertones, this product might work for you.

Verdict: I’ll stick to my current sunscreen options and keep hunting for a natural, tinted product.

RMS buriti bronzer

I like the color of this, but I think it will work best as an eyeshadow rather than a bronzer. I like the coppery shade, but it’s a little too dramatic for my face. I like to keep it subtle and this looks too bronze for cheeks. I really just wanted to sample RMS to see if the formulation worked with my skin. They use coconut in their products and I sometimes have a bad reaction to it, bronzer felt like an easy way to experiment as I tend to be less sensitive along the sides of my face.

Verdict: going to play with it until the sample runs out

Kahina eye serum

Why!??! Why do I have to like this so much?!?! It’s the most expensive product in the batch and I only picked it on a whim because I figured I would never buy it, but I LOVE it. I’ve been using the MyChelle Fabulous Eye Cream, but it’s not my favorite. I have a hard time finding eye products that don’t irritate my eyes and this one is perfect… except its $78.

Verdict: Wish list. I’m definitely getting this when I run out of the MyChelle.

Josh Rosebrook lift

Haven’t tried it yet, but the sample is so small I’m not sure it’s enough to make things happen. Will report back when I try it.

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