Confessions of a Recovering Relationship Conformist: Part 2

Who’s seeking what?

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stocksnap_3i2subqy6xJust to recap, I don’t believe most men want to be or seek out a serious relationship.  They need to be convinced or persuaded that the relationship with you is better than the alternative.  Now don’t confuse this with trickery and manipulation, that’s definitely not what I’m referring to.  I mean that it’s not natural for them to want it, therefore they have to be shown by your actions, by your very person that being in a relationship with you is something to be desired.  Most women on the other hand, do desire and seek out a relationship naturally; no convincing necessary (often why we find ourselves in the wrong relationship; a discussion for another day).

I’m a woman who doesn’t seek out or desire a relationship naturally.

To reiterate what I mentioned in part 1, if you feel the same or question how ‘natural’ this construct is, know that there is nothing wrong with you and that you are not alone in this feeling.

I enjoy my own company and alone time.  I truly mean it that when I say that.  Of course, it certainly make things enjoyable when you have a partner to go to the movies with, or go hiking, to do the mundane activities of life like grocery shopping, to talk to every night when you come home, to warm your bed, to have sex with regularly.

Having a partner can make those activities fun, make life interesting but that’s not to say that any of those activities are not enjoyable or less valuable with a friend, with your dog or by yourself.

I very much enjoy a ‘romantic’ date night at the movies with my BFF.  I can have the best time hiking with my dog Gannicus; experiencing how happy he is to be in the presence of other animals, to sniff and roll in all the interesting scents.  I actually enjoy the peacefulness of grocery shopping early in the morning when few other shoppers are out, while listening to my latest Spotify playlist.  As much as I love cuddling, I also appreciate being able to starfish on the entire bed and having all the covers for myself.  Plus let’s be honest, you don’t always get regular sex in a relationship either.

A relationship can also provide you with a partner to support and help you achieve your goals and you in turn do the same for them.  Yes, it’s amazing to have a partner to back you in your decisions, to be there for you when things don’t go as planned, but for me not necessary.  I’m lucky enough to be innately ambitious and intrinsically motivated to achieve my goals.  I’m blessed enough to have good friends in my life to remind me that everything will be okay when life gets live.

In part 1, I mentioned that I’ve only recently become open to the concept, “You just haven’t found the right one yet.”  I’m considering the ideal situational that would render that statement true and will share in a future post.  To be clear, I’m more than fine and will thrive regardless of if I meet this ‘right one‘ or not, and so will you.

Do you think it’s important to find joy in life’s activities as an individual?  Do you think it’s possible to be just as happy both in and not in a relationship?

Confessions of a Recovering Relationship Conformist: Part 1

What’s wrong with me?

Sure there are men out there who by nature want to be in a relationship; because they don’t like being alone or otherwise, but for the most part men don’t really want to be ‘in a relationship’; married or otherwise.  They commit for us.  They meet someone that they care for and love enough to make a declaration that ‘this is their woman’ because that declaration will make the woman happy, and of course as a result this makes the man happy.  Most women on the other hand are either hard wired or socialized to want to be in a relationship and to seek out a partner that will give it to them.

I’ve come to realize that I am not hard wired or socialized to want a relationship.

It’s not my natural state to desire one or be in one.  When I think about my past relationships and how I ended up in them, it’s very clear.  That point when the declaration came wasn’t at a time when I thought to myself, I really want to be in a relationship with this person; it came around by way of a seemingly ‘natural’ progression of events.  More like ‘Okay, sure. We’re already doing this I guess. Makes sense’ as opposed to ‘I really want to be in this with you’.  I take full responsibility for these actions and choices.  Truth be told the subconscious part of my decision making process was the underlaying socialization that drew me to wanting this scenario for myself.  This is what I was supposed to do.  This is the path I’m supposed to take.  This is the life I’m supposed to want for myself.  Is it really?  I know it is for many, but it doesn’t feel right for me.  What it comes down to is can I think of a reason, one inherent to myself and my values that  makes this life the best choice for me?  And I can’t think of one.

I know what you’re going to say…”You just haven’t met the right one yet”.  Maybe.  I’ll say that I’ve only recently become slightly open to that possibility (to be discussed further in a later post).  If and until then, the point I want to make actually didn’t come from me at all.  It was said to me by a very good friend of mine:

Just because you’re not doing it the way everyone else is, doesn’t mean that it’s wrong.

It’s the reason why despite the fact that I’ve been reluctant to share my personal opinions and experiences about love and dating, I felt compelled to tweak the direction of this blog.  I’m certain I’m not the only woman out there who feels this way or at the very least there are women who question these constructs, those who could benefit from a conversation or even just hearing a little bit about another woman’s experience.  I feel compelled to open up because you may not be lucky enough to have a friend who will tell you that despite how some men (and women) may want you to feel, there is absolutely nothing wrong with you.

What I miss about eating animal products?

It’s been a little over a year since I started my vegan journey, so it seems fitting that this morning I found myself reflecting.  Reflecting on the many changes that I’ve made and how they’ve affected my every day life.  Reflecting on the things I’ve learned to live without and what I’ve gained from living without those things.  Reflecting on some of the questions that I often get asked from curious animal eaters… Questions like, “But don’t you miss it???”  The answer isn’t so clear cut.  Yes and No.

Cheese.

I loved me some cheese.  All kinds of cheese.  Any kind of cheese.  Anytime.  I don’t think I ever found myself in a situation where I felt like, ‘nawww.. I’m not in the mood for cheese’.  I could polish off a ‘snack platter’ with cheese, summer sausage, crackers, grapes, carrots, celery, dip… So easy!  Cheese on bagels.  Cheetos. Poutine.  Cheese burger.  Nacho cheese.  Cheese. Cheese. CHEESE!

These days I barely find myself thinking about cheese.  While I’m not going to site research I am going to share something that I read which makes logical sense to me.  Milk contains hormones from the mother cow which when ingested by her calf, results in the calf wanting to come back for more.  It’s necessary for their survival; so the calf can form an attachment to the mother and so it can grow.  This is what we’re consuming in milk.  Now think about how much milk is in cheese… An even higher concentration of those hormones.  What happens when I ingest those hormones?  Well I want to eat more cheese of course.  It’s an addiction.  After my first two weeks of not consuming cheese I no longer desired it.  Previously, it would have been impossible for me not to grab a handful of cheese if a platter presented itself in the lunch room at work, but now I look at it and I feel nothing.

Of course there are options if you still crave cheese (some better than others).  Field Roast makes some delicious Chao slices which I’ve found to be pretty darn close to cow’s cheese – I’ve used it many times to make a grilled cheese, tomato and cubanelle pepper sandwich and on a veggie or black bean burger (amazing!).  You can also get nut cheese, which I have yet to purchase but I have successfully made my own cashew nut cheese – which is a lot easier than it sounds (Jenny Mustard has a super easy video on this).  I’ve also found using hummus works well in some places where I would have previously used cow’s cheese. For example on a bagel (credit to Kalyn Nicholson who suggested this in a video).  As the ‘cheese’ layer in a layered mexican dip.  To add a ‘cheesy’ spread to my tortilla wrap or quesadilla before adding the fixins’.  I usually use a flavoured hummus, most often a spicy one in the case of the mexican dip but any hummus works just as well.

What I want to make clear here is that I was a lover of cow’s cheese and I never imagined that I would ever give it up but for me at least, it wasn’t nearly as challenging as I had imagined.  Besides living a life more aligned with my personal values the other bonus that I’ve gained from giving up cow’s cheese is not consuming all of that fat that comes along with cow’s cheese.  It’s not like when I had cow’s cheese I was consuming in moderation, oh no, it was excessive.  Who can stop at just one handful of cheese cubes?  Not this girl!  Now I no longer have to deal with that temptation — It’s freeing.

Sweet Treats.

When I say treats I’m not referring to candy.  I’m talking about donuts, chocolate croissants, brioche, cakes, cupcakes, chocolate bars, muffins etc.  Now don’t get it twisted, you can certainly get these animal-free and you can bake them yourself too.  They taste just as amazing as their animal-positive counterpart without the guilt.  There are vegan friendly shops like the Vegan Danish Bakery where I got the most decadent chocolate coconut cream cake for birthday cake this year and you can quickly search the internet on your phone to find vegan options at many of your favourite coffee shops and restaurants.

It’s not so much that I miss the treats themselves, because I can still get them.  What I miss is the ease at which I could access these treats before.  What I miss is how readily available they were.  Of course there is where you find the silver lining.  Because these treats are not as easy to access, it means I consume less of them.  Far healthier for my sugar levels as well as my waistline.  No longer is it so easy to grab a muffin or a donut with my coffee at Tims or a sweet treat from Starbucks.  It’s so much easier not to swipe one (or two) of every dessert at the table during our monthly BBQs at work.  It’s so much easier not to take two or three cupcakes at the party because unless I’ve prepared by bringing my own baked good to gathering (which I often do), there’s nothing for me on the dessert spread.

You can also purchase ready baked sweet treats at the health food store or sometimes even a regular grocery store.  Sweets from the Earth makes some of the most amazing animal-free baked goods that are sold in many health food stores.  My favourites are their cupcakes and whoopie pies but store bought vegan treats can come with a higher price tag.  This is understandable considering the product is for a smaller market, less volume will be sold and a profit must be made but this also means I have to choose how often I purchase and as a consequence how often I consume these treats wisely.  For the record, I’m not sad about it.  It’s far easier to say no, when you don’t have an option and I’m sure my pancreas is doing a happy dance right about now.

There are a few other things that I miss.  Seafood for example, mostly shrimp and lobster but these weren’t animals I consumed very often, so they’re less of a challenge.  I also miss how easy it used to be to pick a restaurant when I wanted to eat out.  Granted, you can find something vegan friendly to eat on almost any restaurant menu.  I even found something at an oyster bar in the Distillery District.  I’ve learned to plan ahead and check out the menu online first as well as committed to memory the animal-free items at fast food joints that I frequent.

What’s more important than the things I might miss are the things that I’ve gained.  I feel awake.  You’ll notice that I’ve said ‘animal’ and ‘cow’ frequently throughout this post where normally you might have just said ‘meat’ or ‘cheese’. I feel like I was oblivious to what I was eating before… Yes it is meat, but it was a cow at one point and it was killed for me to eat.  I feel like I should at least acknowledge that it was previously a living, breathing cow, before it was meat.

I feel like I am moving my life in a direction that is more closely aligned with my values.

I feel conscious.

I feel free.

 

 

 

How to eat healthfully even when you’re short on time

I am a born planner.  If a leap of faith is required or I’m forced to think on my feet I will manage, but I must admit that I much prefer being prepared before entering most situations.  I’m a true believer in setting a strong foundation and making sure that I have the right tools for the job.  Of course the best laid plans can crumble, however if there is something that you can do to better prepare yourself, why not give yourself the best chance to succeed?

I look at healthful eating the same way.  If I don’t have the right tools (don’t know what I’m going to make), ingredients (have to go to the grocery store at the last minute) or time and energy (because I came home late from work) then I will undoubtably make bad decisions.  I will pick up fast food or be so famished that I cannot even stand to wait one minute for food to cook (worse yet, if I don’t know what to cook), or I will eat chips or cookies or something that I can grab quickly that is high in fat or sugar (do yourself a favour and don’t even keep these in the house).  So again I ask, why not show yourself some love and give yourself the best chance to make good, healthful choices?

I’ve found that focusing my energy and attention on three main objectives help to maximize the return on my investment towards healthful eating.  Below are my three objectives and they direct how I fuel my body weekly:

  1. Planning
  2. Prepping
  3. Capitalizing on time & energy when it is plentiful and conserving time & energy when it is scarce

Planning

This starts on Thursday night for the following week.  On this night, the next week’s meals are scheduled and the grocery list is made from this menu.  As it’s cold out now, I get groceries before work on Friday morning and leave them in the car while I’m at work.  Since I have to be up for work anyway, why not maximize my time by waking up a little earlier and getting this weekly task out of the way before the weekend starts?  When it’s warmer out I will return to Saturday morning grocery shopping but for now, this helps me get a bit more time out of my weekend.

This week’s menu is as follows:

  • Lunches (Monday to Friday) = Chili tomate rice + spicy black beans + avocado +spicy mustard sauce
  • Dinner on Monday = Creamy scalloped potatoes + asparagus
  • Dinner on Tuesday = General tao chick peas + broccoli + red pepper + rice
  • Dinner on Wednesday = Buffalo broccoli + celery + carrot sticks
  • Dinner on Thursday = Vegan mac & ‘cheese’
  • Dinner on Friday = Butternut squash soup

Some extra notes on planning meals:

Since I’m getting groceries on Friday, meals that require the freshest veggies are scheduled earlier in the week.  This is why the asparagus and broccoli are on Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday.  Meals for which the veggies do not need to be as fresh or that include veggies that will last longer are scheduled later in the week.

As I’m now more comfortable with vegan recipes and balancing my meals so that I’m satiated, I’ve added a new task to the mix: using the same veggies in multiple recipes throughout the week.  Broccoli is in two recipes and butternut squash is in three.  Not only does this ensure you are using up your veggies before they go bad, it also saves you from buying more items.

Prepping

I try to prepare as much as I can before actually getting to the cooking process.  This can be pre-chopping veggies before cooking; immediately before cooking or even days before.  Where possible I will even chop the veggies as soon as I get home from the grocery store and before putting them into the fridge.  This week, I did just that and chopped the carrot and celery sticks for Wednesday.  It also provides snack-ready veggies.  I like to do this with fruit as well (mangos for instance, providing they are ripe).  This preparation means that in those times where I find myself heading to the fridge, I have options that are just as convenient as chips or candy (assuming you had those in the house).

The other thing I like to do just prior to cooking is measure out all the ingredients.  This is especially helpful for baking which in most cases consists of a set of wet ingredients (which I put into the mixer) and a set of dry ingredients (which I whisk together in a separate bowl).  Now in the case of cooking this would mean pre-measuring all of the spices and putting them in a small bowl – great for when your recipe calls for multiple ingredients that use the same measuring spoon.  I also pre-measure any liquids so they are ready to be added to the recipe – which again makes the actual cooking process go by faster and avoids having to wash the same measuring cup more than once during the actual cooking process.

Capitalizing on time & energy when it is plentiful and conserving time & energy when it is scarce

I used to prepare just my lunches for the week on Sundays, but lately I’ve been extending that to dinners and sometimes even breakfasts.  There are many people that swear by preparing everything ‘fresh’ the day of and eating it immediately after cooking to obtain the most benefit and flavour from food.  Well here’s the thing, after a long day of work I am not motivated to spend time in the kitchen prepping and cooking a meal, but I do want to eat something healthful and provide my body with the best fuel possible.  It’s great if you are willing to prep and cook everything when you get home from work; but I know that I would not be motivated to do that and would instead make some quick unhealthy meal for dinner.  However, I can motivate myself to follow through with my goal by making that healthful meal as easily attainable as possible.  I’m far less tired on Sunday afternoon than I am on Monday night and in most cases I have more free time on Sunday afternoon than I do on Monday night.  The best return on my time and energy on Sunday is to give myself a fighting chance for Monday to Friday.IMG_0967

On Sunday afternoon for approximately 2 hours, the below was prepared for the week.

  • Lunches (Monday to Friday)
    • cooked chili tomate rice
    • cooked spicy black beans
    • mixed spicy mustard sauce
  • Dinner on Monday
    • chopped sweet potatoes & butternut squash for sauce
  • Dinner on Wednesday
    • chopped celery + carrots (this was actually already done on Saturday)
  • Dinner on Thursday
    • cooked ‘cheese’ sauce
      • 2 containers were filled – one placed in the fridge for this week, one frozen for a later date
  • Dinner on Friday
    • cooked butternut squash soup
      • 1 large container was filled and placed in the fridge for this week, 3 small containers were frozen for a later date

That 2 hour investment means the meals for the week can be ready in less than 20 mins*

*minus the scalloped potatoes as they have to bake for longer

  • Lunches are completely prepared for the week and need only to be packed the night before or morning of (Side note: I used to pre-package in 5 containers for the week but I found it took up too much space in the fridge, plus I like to use my bento box)
  • For dinner on Monday the veggies need to be boiled/steamed, potatoes chopped then baked
  • For dinner on Tuesday the veggies need to be boiled/steamed, rice and chick peas cooked (Side note:  I pre chopped broccoli before but I lost and it got all crumbly so I don’t pre-chop this guy anymore)
  • For dinner on Wednesday the buffalo broccoli needs to be seasoned and baked
  • For dinner on Thursday the pasta needs to be cooked and the sauce warmed
  • For dinner on Friday the soup needs to be warmed

 That 2 hour investment also creates some BONUS meals for a later date:

  • 3 individually sized butternut squash soups are now in the freezer to be eaten when someone is snackish or to be used as another weekday meal
  • an extra container of ‘cheese’ sauce is ready and only pasta needs to be cooked for a quick meal
  • Tuesday’s dinner of General Tao chick peas is also likely to yield some leftovers.  These will also be individually packaged and frozen like homemade “tv dinners” for a later date

After 2 weeks of prepping, by week three there are enough ready-made meals in the freezer to not have to cook anything new for one week.  This results in considerable time and money savings as week three’s grocery trip usually requires only a few add ons.  Plus, these extra meals in the freezer mean that any other time you feel hungry but too tired to cook something from scratch, you always have a healthy option at your fingertips that requires little effort, yet maximizes nutritional benefits.

Incorporating these three objectives into my meal planning helps to save time (during the week) and money, but more importantly it provides the right tools to make the most healthful choices when fueling my body.  Premium fuel means more energy, more efficient use of that energy and most important; self love and happiness.

5 and 1/3 days of vegan meals

 

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about what I’ve been eating since deciding to live a vegan lifestyle, which lead me to this food journal…

And just to clarify:

  1. No, I’m not finding it difficult to find things to eat.
  2. Yes, I’m still able to enjoy my favourite dishes.

This is by no means an exhaustive list and certainly does not include all of the snacks, coffees and teas that I consumed.  My hope is that it will satiate your curiousity and maybe even give you some cruelty free meal ideas.  Sunday may seem like an odd place to start, but it’s once of my favourite meals and I couldn’t help sharing it.

DISCLAIMER:  I’ve already started eating some of the food in the photos or the photo is of the leftovers after I’ve finished clearing my plate because, well honestly, I am horrible when it comes to taking photos of my food before I eat it.  Sometimes I just want it to GET. IN. MY. BELLY!

Sunday

IMG_0865
Dinner = Fries Supreme; yukon gold potato fries. lettuce. tomatoes. salsa. jalapeños. Tofutti sour cream. fresh cilantro. nutritional yeast flakes

Monday

Breakfast = coffee+almond creamer. smoothie; beet stalk and leaf. orange juice. 1 banana. chia seeds. Vega coconut almond protein powder
Lunch = Deconstructed Sushi Bowl; white rice. carrots. cucumber. avocado. tamari sauce. black sesame seeds. sea weed.
Snacks = 1/2 cortland apple. banana+chia seeds. sesame seed bagel+ maple peanut butter
IMG_0884
Dinner = chick’n nachos; Gardein chick’n strips. bbq sauce. Tostitos scoops. tomatoes. salsa. green onions. lettuce. Tofutti sour cream. jalapeños. fresh cilantro. nutritional yeast flakes.

Tuesday

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Breakfast = oats. quinoa flakes. currents. coconut flakes. pumpkin granola. peanuts. soy milk. Vega coconut almond protein powder. coffee+almond creamer

IMG_0872
Lunch + Snacks = same as Monday (above photo is of the sushi bowl, mixed and ready for face stuffing)
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Dinner = jambalaya; vegan chipotle sausage. chili style diced tomatoes. vegetable broth. peaches & cream corn. carrots. pobleno pepper. brown rice.

Wednesday

Breakfast = oats. quinoa flakes. currents. coconut flakes. pumpkin granola. peanuts. soy milk. Vega coconut almond protein powder. coffee+almond creamer

Lunch + Snacks = same as Monday

IMG_0888

Dinner = white rice. Granny’s callaloo. falafel (sounds weird I know… West Indian + Mediterranean in one dish, however it was quite delicious)

Thursday

Breakfast = carrots. cucumber. 1/2 cortland apple. vegan friendly cookies. coffee+almond creamer

Lunch = same as Monday

IMG_0917.JPG

Dinner = shepherd’s pie; yukon gold potatoes (mashed). lentils. canned peas+carrots. Gardein beefless ground

Friday

Breakfast = oats. quinoa flakes. currents. coconut flakes. pumpkin granola. peanuts. soy milk. Vega coconut almond protein powder. coffee+almond creamer

Lunch + Snacks = same as Monday

image

Dinner = Coconut rice. purple yams. broccoli. plantain. cumin-lime black beans.

 

fini!

Quick Meal Prep Tip

Pre-pack breakfast in ready-to-go containers.

 

IMG_0879I’m not a fan of overnight oats as I have ‘a thing’ when it comes to the texture of my food.  Weird, I know because I do like oatmeal but the overnight oats are just a little too soggy for my liking.  I just had this idea while I was packing up my lunch for tomorrow; why don’t I also prepare all the ingredients for my morning oatmeal in a bowl so I would need only to add the soy milk and pop it into the microwave in the morning?

My next thought was, since I am now using my bento boxes for lunch, and have an excess of small containers I used to use for my snacks, why not repurpose these to prepare oatmeal for the rest of the week?  It’s like the Quaker Instant Oatmeal packets you loved as a child (and well into adulthood).  Bonus, you can cater the toppings to your heart’s desire.  Granola, dried fruit, protein powder, chocolate chips, chia seeds, peanuts, almonds; the possibilities are endless.  Plus, if you’re like me you also enjoy snacking on breakfast food in the evening.  So why not have a couple of these guys ready for when you’re feeling snackish?  I’m not saying it’s the healthiest but it’s certainly a better alternative to cookies or ice cream and almost as convenient.

Tips for Beauty Product Junkies

I’m not really big on New Year’s resolutions.  Sometimes I feel like they can put too much pressure on you and that you may not necessarily be trying to make a change for the “right” reason – or at least not for a reason that will provide for the most motivation to maintain that change.  For example, if I were to set a goal to eat more vegetables because I feel like I need to set a goal for the “new year, new me”, I would be far less motivated to attain that goal than if I set it because I wanted to have more energy and eat more healthfully.  Do you see what I mean?  At least from what I’ve learned thus far about what motivates me, I’m more inclined to meet my goal for the latter.

The other reason I’m not too keen on New Year’s resolutions is because I feel that if you want to make a change for the better, then why wait until the new year?  Why wait at all?  It’s funny because we are in such a rush to do other things; arriving at our destination when driving, impatience when Netflix is lagging, anxious about occupation or life goals and where we are ‘supposed to be’, yet we have no issues putting off even the smallest personal change until tomorrow or next week or next year.  We tend to reflect on the past year and plan for the next during the holiday season; just remember that planning and setting goals can be done any time throughout the year or your life.

My recent decision to make more cruelty-free choices has caused me to look deeper at other decisions, how they affect me and the world around me.  One conclusion drawn from this reflection is that I would like to consume less.  Now, over the next year and well, forever.

So now we arrive at the heart of this post:  I am a product junkie!  There.  I said it.  I’m positive that I’m not the worst, but the underlaying issue is the same – It is not necessary for me to consume as much as I do.  That’s it.  So simple.  Now what can I, and you if you share this problem do about it?  I’ve been thinking about this for a little while and I’ve noticed 5 areas where I can improve and limit product consumption:

  1. Remove Temptation.  I was previously subscribed to all of my favourite sites for online shopping; and I had a lot of favourites!  Some mornings I had 10-15 emails in my inbox from various sites.  My motivation for subscription?  FOMO (fear of missing out).  I did not want to miss out on a sale or deal on a product that I needed.  Here’s the reality of the situation:  I either did not have time or did not care enough to make the time to go through those emails everyday.  Most days, I deleted them without even reading them.  If I went through them, I would find loads of things I just absolutely ‘needed’ despite the fact that I had never even imagined ever needing them prior to opening the email.  The worst are those ‘Spend $50 to get this other item that you most definitely do not need right now but isn’t it so perfect I could certainly find a use for it because it’s so cute or solves a problem that I don’t even have right now’ emails.  Do yourself a favour and unsubscribe from emails.  The product you need is rarely on sale at the time that you need it, plus these notifications are likely causing you to spend so much more that it negates any possible discount you were getting on the item you actually needed!
  2. Go through your stash periodically.  As a product junkie I just LOVE to try new products.  Even if I already have something that works well enough, I’m constantly searching for that holy grail item.  This means that I have baskets and boxes full of partially used products in various cupboards and drawers (below).  IMG_0824.JPGLet’s be honest with each other here, you do this too.  Like me, you probably don’t even know what or how much you have.  It’s important to go through your stash periodically.  Monthly, every six months, every year; whatever it is – just go through it.  If you don’t do this, you are most certainly hoarding multiple products that serve the same purpose – and worse still, buying more.  Don’t keep items that don’t work for you.  Give them away or do a product swap with your friends.  Just because it doesn’t work for you, doesn’t mean it won’t work for someone else.  Both you and your friends can satisfy the need to try new products without even spending another dime.
  3. Set a budget for your beauty products.  Don’t forget to track how much you spend.  It’s almost impossible to really see how much you are consuming without looking at its monetary value.  There are tons of tools out there to help you do this whether you prefer old school printables or digital tracking.  I use an app called AceBudget2, but a simple Google or Pinterest search will reveal a wealth of options.
  4. Do your research.  Yes, it can be time consuming but it’s free and can save you money.  I always check for product reviews on multiple sites whether it’s YouTube, the actual site I am purchasing the product from, Amazon or searching on Google before making a purchase.  Of course you have to take reviews with a grain of salt – some of them are sponsored or the product was supplied for review free of charge.  Also note that time is precious and many people will not review a product if it is good.  They are already using it and are happy with it, therefore less motivated to go on a website to write a positive review.  Alternatively in the case where reviews are sponsored or the product is supplied by the vendor for free, the reviewer may be more motivated to speak positively about the product.  In any event I like to learn about the product before I purchase it and the more information the better.  Although you should not take reviews at face value, you can get a general consensus of what people are saying about the product.
  5. Shop around and get samples.  It is so easy shop around online.  Whether you are searching for a specific product on the weekly flyer app Flipp or searching various online sites, it’s a small investment of time that can result in considerable savings.  Many stores and beauty counters provide free samples for you try.  Although I’m not a fan of in-store shopping, if you don’t mind returning to the store to purchase the full size, you may want to take advantage of this option.