Monday, February 22, 2016

Book Review: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying - Marie Kondo

Okay, I did it. I caved. I bought the book that everyone has been raving about for the past 12 months. I just had to see for myself what all the fuss was about, and whether I could be converted to the dark side that is minimalism. 

Marie Kondo claims that those who use her method (named the Konmari method, taken from her won name) never rebound, and her repeater rate is zero. 100% success rate is a pretty massive claim. 

I found that the book was more about decluttering than it was about "tidying", but I don't think that the Konmari method is about minimalism. Rather, it is about keeping only the items in your home that "spark joy". It is these two words that have been revolutionary; rather than think about what you want to throw away, you think about what you want to keep. Such a simple shift in thinking, yet it makes such a difference in being able to actually get rid of stuff. 

So how do you decide whether something sparks joy? Marie Kondo says you must work by categories (rather than rooms); the true Konmari way is to start with clothes. So, you take all the clothes you own (including accessories, shoes and handbags) and pile them on the floor. This is supposed to be confronting. Then you hold each item and ask yourself if it sparks joy. There should be an immediate response - if that response is no, then the clothing gets discarded. 

There is also the Konmari method of storing your clothes; the "Konmari way of folding" (which I have to point out is not anything new. I've been folding my clothes this way since 2012), and hanging clothes (from light to dark). 

There are a few key points to the Konmari method of decluttering: 
  • It must be done in silence; 
  • You cannot Konmari other people's belongings (whether something sparks joy is personal)
  • Don't let your family see you Konmari-ing
  • You should thank your items before discarding them

Generally, I found the book insightful, and it definitely inspired me to declutter my stuff (although I haven't had a chance to properly start). However, I did feel it was slightly too long - the first third of the book was really useful, the final third just seemed to be filled with stories of clients and her own experience which didn't really add anything, and by the end it kind of devolved into full-blown crazy land. 

Marie Kondo talks to all her belongings, she empties her handbag every single day, she doesn't believe in balling up socks because they need time to rest, and she doesn't believe in owning more than 30 books (the chapter on books was really painful to read). 

Of course, I know that not everything I own "Sparks joy" for me. For instance, so much of my furniture is second hand and cheap chipboard. Marie Kondo points out that there is joy to be found in utility, so even though my ugly cutlery set doesn't make me swoon, I find joy in it when I eat my food. I think this is important to remember as you go through the KonMari journey; it would be too easy to get swept up in discarding and replacing, and if you aren't at a point in your life where you can afford to replace all those things that spark joy, this could be dangerous. 

The main thing that didn't sit well with me is throughout the whole book, she goes on and on about throwing out and discarding items. This seems so incredibly wasteful to me. Of course, there are things that can't necessarily be donated, but if your items are in good working order there is no reason why you shouldn't spend a little time making sure you are responsible in discarding them. Whether that's giving them to a local school, charity shop, or local 'Pay it Forward' facebook page. 

Overall, an interesting read, but nothing that can't be learned from the internet.

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Monday, February 8, 2016

February Goals

As always, let's start with a review of last month's goals: 

- Finish three books
Yes! I crossed this one off early in the month, and kick-started my reading for February. I think if I keep this up I will be able to do more regular book reviews. 
- Clean out the linen under the bed.
I spent a whole day clearing out all the linen in our house, throwing away anything was well-worn and had holes, washing everything else, folding it and putting it back into under-bed storage boxes that are clearly labelled. This should make life so much easier when people come and stay - I'll know exactly where to find everything! 
- Clear off my bedside table
I didn't quite get around to this, so I'm moving it to next month. 
- Stretch 5 days a week
I have started off the year strong with stretching, and hope to continue this. 
- Pay off my credit card bill by the end of the month. 
Not quite, but I have paid off quite a bit and have a strict budget for paying it off ASAP. 
- Go trapeze-ing! 
I am hoping to get around to this in March, as February is looking really busy. 
- Clear the hallway
Yes! There were space bags filled with random crap and boxes littering our hallway from when we first moved in (6 months ago). I had a quick clear out of it, and now our hallway is unimpeded. 

- Finish 3 books
- Perform at my pole studio's Open Night showcase
- Clear off our bedside table
- Edit our NZ photos
- Stretch 5x a week
- Get back into a regular blogging upload schedule
- Print photos for my work photo frame
- Sort already printed photos into photo box. 

Has the start of the year kick-started your goal-setting?

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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Review: Innoxa Cover and Correct Cream Concealer Face Palette*

I was so thrilled to receive this in the goodie bag at the Bloggers United AU event I attended last year, as colour correcting helps give your base that flawless finish. 

The cream concealers are housed in a silver, plastic palette with a big mirror on the inside lid. The palette overall is a really nice size, it's not unnecessarily big, and being made out of plastic ensures it's lightweight. The palette closes shut with a snap closure. I love that the back of the palette contains information about what each colour corrects. 

These concealers are definitely creamy, and a little goes a long way - if you use too much product it will be a bit tricky to blend it in. I personally find the best way to use this product is with my fingertips, as the warmth from my skin helps almost "melt" the product into my skin. 

I always apply after primer and before foundation - that way I am really covering up the colour left behind by the concealer. 

This palette contains four colour correcters (yellow, green, lavender and apricot) and two concealers (light and dark). I personally don't get much use out of the concealers as they don't really match my skin tone, but the green and apricot colour correcters get a lot of use. 

(L - R: Yellow; used for neutralising purple under the eyes
Green; used to reduce redness and cover blemishes
Lavender; used to reduce yellow undertones) 

(L-R: Apricot: used to brighten complexion and the eye area
Light Concealer, Dark Concealer) 

Colour correcting is a bit daunting at first. Let's use colour correcting redness as an example: so you apply the green concealer wherever there's redness (for me, on my cheeks), but then you're left with a green tinge on your face; which is a bit scary and less than ideal. However, once you apply foundation over the top, your skin will be left looking flawless. 

Have you used colour correcters before? 

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Monday, February 1, 2016

What I Got for Christmas: 2015

So now that it's been well over a month since Christmas was here (I'm still recovering from all that amazing food), I thought it was probably about time I got around to my annual "What I Got for Christmas" post. 

My big present this year was a brand new HP laptop - my old laptop was reaching the end of its life; the graphic card was dying, which meant random blue-screens and constant crashing. It made it really difficult to do anything because I'd get so frustrated and ragequit. I'm so thrilled with this new laptop - larger screen, super lightweight and best of all - no crashing! A few people put in for this gift, and I'm so grateful for it. 

My bestie also got me this beautiful candle from Dusk; Alpine Escape. This scent is really spicy - ginger, cinnamon, patchouli, cloves with a really woody feel. Even though it's been a seemingly never-ending stream of 30 degree days, and this candle is probably better suited to Winter, I've still been burning it non-stop. 

J's parents got me an adorable cow tea-set! Made up of a sugar bowl, little milk jug and a teapot, it's ridiculously cute. 

From J's brother and his wife, I received a year-long Frankie subscription. I've been reading Frankie for years, so it will be really good to receive one every second month! I love receiving subscriptions as gifts, they literally are the gift that keeps giving (as corny as that sounds). 

My brother got me Assassin's Creed: Syndicate and Fallout 4, both of which have been getting plenty of play-time. 

J's sister and her fiance got me a new gym towel, which has been great with all the hot weather we're having and how sweaty working out makes me generally. 
J's parents also got me a bubble bar and bath bomb from Lush - I've spoken before about how much I love these, and I can't wait until the weather cools down a little more so I can start taking steaming hot baths again.  

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