Sincerely, Stasia

Living and learning on a teacher's salary.

Spring Purging and Cleaning March 11, 2012

Filed under: Lifestyle,Organization — sincerelystasia @ 4:23 pm
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Just in time for an absolutely beautiful week to debut, I’m finally not sick anymore so it’s time to get back to business. The weather has been warming up on the east coast (albeit much earlier than usual) and I’ve had visions of sandals, sundresses, and lazy beach days dancing around in my head pretty much nonstop. My large jar of Yankee Candle Green Grass, which is like instant spring, has been burning constantly. Side note: This is one of my all time faves – I stock up whenever I see it. It smells exactly like the grass incense that the Gap carried for a hot second in the 90’s. You’re welcome for the obscure reference.

Spring, for me, is a perfect time for purging. Everything just seems so fresh and new and exciting – Why not get rid of all the crap I have that I don’t need? Normally this means going through my closet and drawers and getting rid of old clothes. I do it every year, but this year I’m putting it in overdrive and really going for it. I’ve decided to go inch by inch through all of my stuff, donating what I think is worth anything and trashing everything else. This is no easy task so today I started small, or so I thought. My bathroom had to be pretty simple, right?

I started by going through my drawers and throwing out any products that were either past their prime or that I don’t use anymore. At first I was hesitant to let some of it go, but once I bit the bullet and tossed some stuff I kinda wanted to keep I couldn’t stop. I went through the drawers, the cabinets, the drawers I put IN the cabinets… Before I knew it I had an entire garbage bag filled with stuff. Some of it was empty bottles and jars, some of it was makeup I’d never even opened that I knew I would never wear. I found attachments for blowdryers that met their maker years ago, including a diffuser for drying curly hair. Seriously? I’ve been having my hair straightened for 2 years now. Useless. I couldn’t believe how much crap I’d accumulated over the past few years. In the picture you can see some of what I ended up tossing – And that was just the top of the bag. As I took it outside I immediately felt 10 times lighter.

Then the cleaning started. I’ll admit something to you here… I love Scrubbing Bubbles. Weird, right? I love spraying that foam on something and listening to it do its thing as it works its magic on whatever dirt and grime is unfortunate enough to be underneath. I Scrubbing Bubbled the hell out of every inch of my bathroom today. The inside of drawers, cabinets, plastic containers… No mercy.

Then I took a look at the makeup I’d decided to keep. Some of it almost went in the trash because it looked like trash. I figured, if I’m cleaning what I’m putting the products in, shouldn’t the the products that go in be clean, too? Yes friends, with a paper towel in hand and a bizarre mission, I Scrubbing Bubbled my actual stuff. No mercy, right? I realized I’d been passing over some of my products because they looked like garbage. Here you can see the before and after of a jar of loose eyeshadow. It looked like junk from being in and out of various makeup bags and drawers where other products inconsiderately exploded, broke, opened and so on. Regardless, I’m much more likely to reach for something if I can tell what it is at a glance and I don’t feel like I’ll have to wash my hands just from picking it up.

Once my bathroom was clean, top to bottom and inside and out, I looked at what I had left. In the spirit of full disclosure, I really should have taken a “before” picture, but most people would probably have been horrified. I know I was when I felt the weight of the bag I was bringing down to the trash. Below is a picture of all of the products I own, not including one bottle of hair serum and some other assorted toiletries that were already neatly tucked into a drawer before the photo shoot started. It’s all of my makeup and it may seem like a lot of stuff, but comparatively? Whoa, what a difference. I use only a few of these things on a daily basis and the rest gets pulled out every now and then.

The important thing is that spring hits this week and I feel like I’m ahead of the game with my spring cleaning. I started with what I thought was a small project and a few hours later I already can’t wait to go through my closet next weekend. That, my friends, will be an adventure but it’s going to be fun. Now admit it to yourself – You have stuff in a drawer or a closet or a cabinet in your bathroom that you don’t need. Go purge. It feels awesome.

Sincerely, Stasia


The Origins of the Sephora Obsession March 1, 2012

Filed under: Fashion,Lifestyle,Style — sincerelystasia @ 11:22 pm
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I’m late today, I know, but instead of coming right home after class I had to check out a new wine bar with a grad school friend for Chianti and tuna tartare. For the record, it was fabulous. On to my late night post (and yes, as a teacher during the school year, this is now late night).

Like most people, I credit (or blame?) my family for who I am. My stubbornness and sarcasm: My dad. My tendency to be overly emotional and fiercely loyal: My mom. My outspokenness and love of sports: Gram Stasia. And, specific to today’s topic, my slight obsession with makeup: My Godmother, Aunt Kathy. I still hate acknowledging that she passed away in 2002 when she was only 46. There are a million things I love and I miss about my Aunt Kathy, who was really just incredible, but that’s another post for another day.

Since before I was born, Aunt Kathy was working for companies like Lancome, L’Oreal, and Revlon. Adding to her general fabulousness, she traveled extensively and spent some time living in London, where my lovely cousin was born, before moving back to NYC. Now to say that she was generous with products from her companies is a massive understatement. Every time she visited it was like Christmas. And when it was actually Christmas? Man. That was serious. One year we all got Revlon toolboxes that were literally filled with all sorts of makeup.

When I was a kid, she would come to visit and we’d go to the beach. I specifically remember one trip when she slathered some new, unreleased waterproof mascara on my 8-year-old lashes and sent me into the ocean to see if I would come back to our blanket without looking like a raccoon. I don’t remember the outcome, but I do remember how much fun it was when we played with makeup together.

I’m not going to say that, because we’d been playing with makeup together since I was little, I had any idea what I was doing. There’s a reason I don’t share pictures from intermediate school. Just take my word for it – We were clueless, I had access to every eyeshadow and lipstick color known to man, and it was the early 90’s. Horrific combination. But, I was completely hooked.

Now, I’d always been given all of my makeup by Aunt Kathy. Except, of course, for the pre-teen staples like Maybelline Watermelon Kissing Koolers (throwback!). After she left Revlon, I started buying my own drugstore makeup. Within the past few years, my skin decided it wanted to be fancy and I started having all sorts of fun allergic reactions to anything that I tried. During that time, fate introduced me to Sephora. Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic.

Sephora is like a playground-amusement-park-happyland for women. That’s right, I said it. The downside is that everything is just a touch more expensive than, say, make up you’ll find at CVS. I won’t even get into the amount of money I spend at that store each year because it’s depressing. This is especially true considering I always know exactly what I’m going in for, so within 5 minutes I’m in and out of the store with a bag the size of my wallet and a receipt for upwards of $100. Oh, and I never impulse buy there. Ever. Is that believable?

Straight to the Point: I’ve been back and forth between a lot of different products over the past year and right now I’m really happy with what’s currently in my makeup bag. I highly recommend everything listed below… While they can be more expensive than some other products, there’s a reason for that.

NARS Sheer Matte Foundation: Light and sheer, but you can build it up if need be.

NARS Bronzing Powder in Laguna: The only bronzer I’ve ever found without an orange tint to it. Considering I’ve finally given in and admitted how ridiculously dangerous trips to the tanning salon are, I swear by this and it looks completely natural unless you try to Snookie yourself.

Stila Custom Color Blush in Self-Adjusting Coral: I was afraid of the orange-y color when the saleswoman showed it to Sephora!me, but it’s pretty amazing and is really quite soft.

Sephora Collection Pro Foundation Airbrush #55: I’ve used this brush for everything from liquid foundation to loose powder to bronzer to blush. It applies lightly, blends evenly, and cleans easily. Perfect.

Sephora Collection Ultra Shine Lip Gloss: Lots of colors to choose from, moisturizes, not too sticky. Doesn’t last too long, but it’s better than some others I’ve used.

Sephora Collection Colorful Mono Eyeshadow: Not overly expensive, applies nicely, lasts all day, and comes in about a thousand colors (although I’m usually boring and just wear a brown crease, lame-o).

Sephora Collection Classic All Over Shadow Brush Small #22: I’ve used it for all over color and contouring. Simple and all purpose, in my opinion.

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Zero (black): Creamy eyeliner, applies smoothly.

Lancome Le Crayon Poudre – Powder Pencil for Brows: Brush on one end, powder pencil on the other. Genius.

Benefit They’re Real! Mascara: Jet black mascara that people have been raving about for a reason. I’m super picky about mascara. I’ve moved from Christian Dior Dior Show to Benefit Bad Gal Lash to this. The brush took a while to get used to because it’s stiff and plastic-y, but after using it just a few times I was completely won over. Love this!

I’m not going to pretend that this is everything I have in my arsenal, but it’s some of my favorite stuff. If you’ve never been to Sephora, I recommend a trip. However, don’t blame me if you become addicted to trying all of their fun products. You can blame it, second-hand, on my fabulous Aunt Kathy – I’m sure she’d be more than fine with it.

Sincerely, Stasia


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