What’s in My (Modcloth) Bag

Blogoween

I haven’t purchased a single item of new clothing in over a year! I have picked up a few items used but I don’t think I have done too shabby in being choosier with clothing. It hasn’t been difficult since I hate shopping for new clothes anyway but I have walked away from a few cute pieces that resulted in major FOMO. I actually do need some cool weather clothing and have a huge discount coupon from Modcloth to use. I’ve been curating my order for over a week, it’s getting a little ridiculous and I think it’s time to check out. If you’ve never shopped at Modcloth, it used to be an online-indie boutique that offered tons of different, offbeat designs from a variety of labels. Now, they are owned by Jet.com – yup, owned by Wal-Mart. I don’t love that they are owned by a store that I refuse to shop at. I don’t feel that the quality (for better or worse) or cost of the items has changed, I can still find all of my favourite labels there but I wish they were owned by anyone but Wal-Mart. Even before this, an issue that I’ve always had with Modcloth is that the quality doesn’t always match the price. I’ve purchased some shockingly cheap-feeling items, since they are primarily an online retailer, it’s a gamble but I’ve never had an issue returning items. So anyway, here’s what’s in my bag!

Pam Breeze-ly Long Sleeve Tunic – I love these tops and they come in a ton of colors. They are perfect with leggings, tucked into a skirt, with jeans – super easy to wear and so flattering. I have my eye on the olive and black.

Palpable Perks Knit Top – I have this top in the navy, I really like it and am surprised at the poor reviews! It’s a basic top with a touch of flare from the cute bow-tie embellishment. I tend to wear a cardigan or blazer over it as the fabric is on the lighter side but overall very comfortable. I’m picking up the basic black, shocking 😛

Ready to Ruffle Knit Top – The texture of this one looks totally adorable and I like the ruffled neck line. I’m torn between the tan or the green, I will probably go tan since I don’t own anything this color.

Admired Archivist Knit Top – I feel like I’m purchasing a lot of basic tops but most of my work tops are a little worse for wear (thank you, natural deodorant).

Spotted in Dots Mid Skirt 

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Oh, Hello Polka Dot A Line Skirt

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Just This Sway A Line Skirt

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All or Nothing Pleated Midi Skirt

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Print Appeal A Line Dress – I have a weak spot for critter patterns such as this, more of my clothing is embellished with raccoons, dogs, elephants, cats, bats, etc than not.

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Crazy for you Leopard Cardigan – I mean, what can’t I wear this with?!

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I think I’ve made some solid choices, many of these items can be worn in winter as well. I’ll report back on what I think of everything, like I said, it’s always a bit of a gamble. Let me know if you’ve shopped at Modcloth before and what you thought!

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Vegan Things I Can’t Even

Sustainable Living

March 1 marks two months since I jumped on the vegan train and I’ve mostly been loving it. As with anything though, there are some aspects of the vegan lifestyle that I just can’t get into. There are things I wouldn’t eat prior to my lifestyle change like caviar, frog’s legs or quail eggs – there are odd delicacies in any diet, plant-based being no exception. I don’t care how nutritious these items are, I just can’t even.

Nutritional Yeast – This deactivated yeast was a staple of my childhood nightmares. My dad used it as a popcorn topping and I’d forgotten about it until I needed it for a recipe recently. Once I cracked the seal, all of those years of foot popcorn came flooding back. Yack. Apparently it’s a staple ingredient in cheese substitutes which probably explains my aversion to them 😭

Black Bean & Most Plant Based Burgers – Now, I’ve tried some good ones but the vast majority of these burger substitutes have total gag-worthy texture.

Tofu Hotdogs – Another delicacy from my youth, tofu pressed into any unnatural shape is off-putting. It tastes delicious without having to masquerade as something else.

Cheese’ – Vegan cheese is literally the worst, how does it smell 100 times more like cheese than actual cheese?!

Kombucha – I don’t think this a vegan thing as much as it is an everyone’s lost their fucking minds thing. My first kombucha experience, I ended up with all the globs of fungus coming in the first swallow 🤢 Just gagged a little thinking about it.

Eggs – I’ve tried one soy egg product that was amazing and one that was just what you’d think soy eggs would be like. I’m steering clear for now, the good ones are incredibly hard to find.

Toona – Mostly because this plant-based tuna tastes like an old folks’ home smells – don’t act like you don’t know what that means 😝

There are loads of delicious recipes and vegan treats available, I find that I just don’t like the ones that are trying to imitate something else. I much prefer hodge podges of veggies and legumes to any processed stuff but it’s all about personal taste. Let me know what food aversions you have.

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February Favorites

Random

Before we get into the handful of favorite products that I have, has anyone tried Lularoe leggings? What’s the tea? Are they good quality? I’m down to my last couple pairs of workout leggings and need some that will hold up. Let me know!

My first favorites are these Blush Bomb liquid blushes from Flower Beauty. I’ve become more cognizant of fine lines which tends to happen when my skin is dry, I’ve been trying to use more cream products. These are awesome, super easy to use, I just press them on with a damp sponge and done.

Continuing with the anti-aging theme, I’ve not been wearing foundation and opting for this Missha Perfect Cover BB Cream instead. It doesn’t have a ton of coverage but enough to even my skin out. It’s very lightweight and doesn’t emphasize anything or settle in creases.

These are naked cleansing balms from Lush in Jade Roller and Tea-Totaler. I think they’re pretty new and are basically solid cleansing oils. Once you start to work them into your skin, they soften up. They remove makeup really well, smell lovely and are totally package free.

This cream shadow from Charlotte Tilbury is all I’ve been wearing on my eyes since getting my new lashes. It’s so creamy and long-wearing, I love that it has the appearance of being a whole eye look but it’s one shadow. I don’t know what the shade is because I’ve probably had it for too long and the label wore off 😂

I’ve tried Schmidt’s deodorant before and didn’t love it. I gave it another shot because my psoriasis has been real bad on my underarms lately. Applying deodorant over broken skin is the worst and you aren’t supposed to do it anyway. I grabbed this out of desperation, this flavor is really good! I don’t think it feels nearly as wet as other ones I’ve tried and it doesn’t burn my irritated skin.

Already raved about it, still loving Karma Kream and waiting for a bigger tub!

Let me know what your you were loving this month, have you tried any of these?

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Death of a Paperback Romance

Minimalism

No, this post is not about my non-existent love life 😂This weekend I went to a used bookstore that I frequent on the regular. I haven’t purchased anything in awhile and mostly just go to check out their enormous collection of unusual sci-fi novels with hopes of picking up my very own Fox Mulder 😝 It’s a very cool shop operated by some old hippies and just one of those peculiar places that are disappearing. There are literally thousands of books in this store and this weekend I got to thinking about all the stacks of unwanted books and if books are becoming too much of a good thing.

There used to be a time when printed books were incredibly hard to acquire and treated like precious commodities. In the era of the mass paperback though, every household tends to have a few dozen books laying about. As a former educator, I certainly understand the importance of reading and literature being accessible to everyone. However, clearly there’s a lot of waste when it comes to books. While it’s important to ensure equal access to books, does there really need to be 20 copies of one Danielle Steele novel in existence?! Books can be recycled but it feels a bit wrong to throw a book away no matter how trivial the subject matter might be or how well-worn it is. Unwanted books can be donated which seems like a great way to waste not but are they really being purchased or rather sitting on a shelf in triplicate?

Even if the rest of the world doesn’t recognize what I refer to as book-waste or, seemingly doesn’t since I can’t find a single statistic on it, it’s something I’m trying to be more cognizant of. I rarely purchase physical books but always buy used when I do or simply check the book out from the library. I still absorb a ton of literature though through other mediums as well like audiobooks and yes, even the sacrilegious e-reader 😝 I don’t love the e-reader, I only just recently started using one and it doesn’t feel like a real book to me. That aside, my library offers a service where I can check out most any book digitally and access it on my device. There are also loads of free books available through my Amazon Prime subscription. My favorite zero-waste book though has to be the audiobook which I never would have thought possible since I love reading so much. Listening to a book though somehow makes me feel more immersed in the story. Even though I’m sure it’s more beneficial to my brain to actually be reading I still love a good audiobook. I’m still a total book junkie, whenever I need my book fix, I’ll visit a bookstore, do some browsing and then download the titles I’m interested in. It’s not quite the same but having consumed so many book already in my lifetime, I feel better about not creating more waste.

What are your thoughts on book-waste, is it even a thing to be concerned about? Tell me if you prefer a physical book or are fine with digital media! Does it make you a bit melancholy to see stacks if unwanted books or am I just a bit odd 😉

QuiteSimplyStella(1)

Current Shower Essentials

Clean Beauty

I say current because I often get bored with the products that I am using and only have 1 or 2 that I must have in my routine. Especially when it comes to body and hair products, I am not terribly fussy. I love Lush and trying new things from them, I’ve generally had really good experiences with their bath/body care. Lush has definitely received some bad press over the years, not all of the ingredients they use are natural, they use essential oils, many of their products are heavily fragranced – you might even call them a green-washed beauty brand. While all of their products are vegetarian, they aren’t vegan and you get into the grey area if that means they can be truly cruelty-free, and I certainly understand some of the skepticism. I choose to shop at Lush because they have a large variety of package free products and their pots are made in the US of 100% post-consumer recycled plastic. Also, I don’t believe that just because something is natural that it’s automatically good for you, I have used a couple of bath bombs that irritate my skin and tend to avoid those but most of their products work for me. They aren’t the most cutting edge products and they tend to be a bit costly, some are worth the money and some simply aren’t.

P1

Delicious Yellow Regular

This has been my go-to body cleanser, I have repurchased it twice now and it’s amazing for dry skin. It doesn’t get terribly sudsy but enough to feel like I’m cleansing my skin, it also leaves my skin feeling soft and soothed. It smells mostly like nothing but does have a bit of a tea tree scent to it, nothing luxurious but does what it’s supposed to. It is packed with skin-soothing ingredients like rose water, oats, cocoa butter and olive oil. The 8 ounce pot lasts me about a month, I actually wish it came in a larger pot but I feel it’s a pretty good value.

Delicious Yellow Regular

I haven’t tried a shampoo bar from Lush that I haven’t liked but this one has the most beautiful, long-lasting scent. I have normal hair, it isn’t dry and it isn’t oily – I can pretty much use anything on it and it’s fine. This bar cleans my hair without drying it out or leaving any residue behind and the lather is crazy amazing. Since these bars are concentrated shampoo, I think you get about 80 washes from them and there’s no plastic waste.

P2

Delicious Yellow Regular

This is a product that I have to have, I’ve used Karma Kream for years – I love the scent and it keeps my skin super moisturized. It’s is fragranced with just enough patchouli, subtle and smoky and so lovely. The texture isn’t too thick and goopy like other natural creams that I’ve used, it’s a very nice texture and a little goes a long way.

That’s my current shower routine, simple products that get the job done 🙂 Let me know what your favorite Lush products are!

QuiteSimplyStella(1)

 

 

Frugal Thirties: Spend or Save

Random

I had a realization a few months ago while looking at my monthly budget, I used to live and survive on a lot less money. I worked a minimum wage job all through college, I had my own apartment (a $400 studio but still a place to live), I took the bus a lot more instead of driving, I still ate well and honestly, I never felt stressed out about money. I didn’t have a lot of money but I also didn’t need a lot of money. Flash forward to starting my career, slowly climbing the ladder, getting promoted, etc. which ultimately means more money and I’ve never felt more stressed out about it! Why can’t I live like I did in my 20’s and just stack cash?! Unfortunately, it’s the human condition to consume things – we gotta’ eat, have a place to live, transportation, medication, emergencies, treating yo’ self – no matter how much we argue that our existence isn’t tied to money, it is. Our existence is in fact so tied to money that people are even arguing for collecting a wage simply for existing, it’s a sad but inescapable reality. Anyway, I only have about 30 more years in my working life to save money (if anyone my age will get to retire) and I find myself trying to be a lot choosier with where my money goes. Some things, I like to spend on but other things I’d rather not – it’s all about having a balance, or so I keep trying to convince myself.

It’s unquestionably one of Judy G. Schwartzkopf’s exotic missives.

I don’t think that there are a lot of ways to save money when it comes to having a place to live, especially in a metro area. I’m a little snotty when it comes to where I live, I don’t want to be bothered, I don’t want to live around bullshit, I want to have a short commute and I want to live in a nice building with moderate amenities. All of that costs money but I love my apartment and I don’t see myself moving unless it’s a deal that I absolutely couldn’t refuse.

It’s unquestionably one of Judy G. Schwartzkopf’s exotic missives.

I’m only one person, it’s not hard for me to save on groceries. I buy a lot of bulk, fresh fruits & veggies, little to no pre-packaged snack foods or otherwise and this keeps my grocery bill low. When I splurge on food, it might be for a fancy baguette or this green olive spread that I am addicted to but most anything can be made at home for much less than purchasing it prepared.

It’s unquestionably one of Judy G. Schwartzkopf’s exotic missives.

I don’t purchase cheap clothing, I do have some splurge items in my closet but on the whole, I thrift shop a lot. I also live in the vicinity of a lot of yuppies and elitists so the thrift stores in my area are amazing. To all of the bored housewives buying clothes they don’t need or really want and then get rid of after wearing once, thank you so much, keep doing you.

It’s unquestionably one of Judy G. Schwartzkopf’s exotic missives.

My theory here is that by investing in really well-made furniture and other large home items, they will last longer. I won’t need another furniture set in my lifetime, barring any unforeseen events.

It’s unquestionably one of Judy G. Schwartzkopf’s exotic missives.

I will always drive a vehicle that I own outright, it just doesn’t matter to me to drive a nice vehicle and throw money away on something like interest. As long as it is reliable, I don’t care what it looks like. Also, I don’t mind taking public transportation to save on fuel, I think Americans have gotten much too used to these cheap fuel prices and should live more like we did when a gallon of gas cost your $4.

It’s unquestionably one of Judy G. Schwartzkopf’s exotic missives.

I could just stop paying for frivolous salon services and save a ton of money but that’s probably not going to happen. I don’t mind paying a little more for a salon service that I am happy with and that will last me a good few weeks instead of saving money, not being happy with the service and potentially needing to get it corrected. Now, are all expensive salon services good? Absolutely not (see my lash extension saga), I am lucky to have salons that I’ve been going to for years that aren’t terribly spendy where I receive really quality services.

It’s unquestionably one of Judy G. Schwartzkopf’s exotic missives.

It depends on what I am doing really, if I am going out to eat then it’s a treat and I will probably splurge since I rarely eat out. If I see a movie, then I prefer to go to a matinee rather than pay full price.

It’s unquestionably one of Judy G. Schwartzkopf’s exotic missives.

Unfortunately, I have very finicky skin and have to purchase spendier products. I think I am literally the only person ever who breaks out from using CeraVe which sucks because it makes my skin feel perfectly moisturized. Also, I might only purchase new, staple products every one to two months and this is easy to budget for.

I believe that my system mostly works well as long as I stick to it. I still don’t understand how I spend more money simply because I make more money, it’s really annoying. Have you found that you live more or less frugally since being on your own? Where do you like to save your pennies?

QuiteSimplyStella(1)

The Drunk Elephant Diaries P.I

Clean Beauty

What a crisp winter morning, it’s about 15 below outside and there are six inches of snow on the ground. If this was a Monday morning, I would be pretty annoyed but seeing as how I have nowhere to be, I am soaking in every bit of it. I think I will bust out the snowshoes later and see what the trails are looking like. Winter is truly my season, I just don’t like it when it gets scary like it has been the last two weeks. Also, can we talk about how tired of talking about the weather I am? Yet, here I am, yammering on about it. This post might be a bit rambling as I am still on the search for sustainable/clean beauty and replacing my beauty/skincare items has been the last part of my lifestyle change. Reason being, I had so much to use up that I didn’t want to purchase anything new and it’s a really daunting task. I’m nowhere near at a point where I need any new makeup and am just doing preliminary research on what brands to switch to. The reason that I have found this process to be so difficult is that there are so many trends and fads and buzzwords, it’s almost impossible to know what to invest in. Not to mention, some of these labels that brands use don’t have any industry regulation to back them up, not that they need to but it definitely makes things tricky. I don’t even love using the terms clean or green beauty because the standards are all over the place. But I had to start somewhere and when I set out, I had a few requirements in mind; simple ingredients, minimal packaging, sustainably/ethically sourced ingredients and accessibility. And apparently, real clever marketing because I got totally sucked into Drunk Elephant.

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So let’s talk about the brand, is it sustainable, effective, worth the hype, worth the freaking coin? To start, DE only has seventeen products and for a mass-produced brand that is available at Sephora, I think that is refreshing. Instead of constantly releasing trendy products to generate profit, they offer a small collection of products that claim to be the remedy to all skin woes. Now, the origin story got major eye rolls from me. The founder wasn’t able to find products that worked for her skin, she identified 6 ingredients that she calls the ‘Suspicious 6′ and started making her own skincare void of the Sus’ 6. If it was really that easy wouldn’t we all just be whipping up our own skin regimen? In the brand’s philosophy they state that ‘natural doesn’t automatically mean good’ and I really appreciate that because it’s so true, they also touch on the shortcomings of industry regulations. While the products are mostly natural, you will find some synthetic ingredients as well that are still safe and effective. Their ‘Break the Cycle’ mantra promotes a less is more beauty routine and overall, I find it fits well with my desire to have a more pared down skincare regimen. Let’s get to some of the products that I have been using.

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Like I said, I will never be one of those people for whom a jar of coconut oil will meet my every need but I don’t feel too bad about only having 5-6 staple products in my cabinet. I did purchase both moisturizers that they offer, the Protini Polypeptide Cream has become my daytime cream and the Lala Retro Whipped Cream I only use at night. I have read conflicting directions on how to use these from some major skincare authorities in the industry, each one can be used completely on their own per the brand’s website – don’t believe the beauty gurus. Protini is a lightweight gel formula which isn’t quite moisturizing enough for a night cream and Lala is a luxurious whipped blend of oils that doesn’t sit well under makeup which is why I have both. The Virgin Luxury Marula Face Oil I use both day and night since I have dry skin, it’s really nice and my skin just soaks it up. The ingredients of all three are what you’d expect from a self-proclaimed clean beauty brand but some of them do make me wonder about their sustainability. While the products are made in the USA, a number of the ingredients are internationally sourced. While they state that their ingredients are also ethically sourced, I still question if we should be using 6 rare African oils in skincare products. According to the brand, they do use sustainable farming and wind energy but there’s not a whole lot else about where the ingredients come from. I will be doing further research but I’d much prefer to purchase products that are made and sourced in the USA. The second strike against the brand is that their patented pump delivery systems make the components non-recyclable which is a total bummer. Finally, the cost of the products are definitely a barrier for some consumers and though I would rather support a US based company even if that means spending more it does make the brand less accessible. If one was to switch to a complete DE routine, the cost is nuts! The only redeeming factor here is that I am using less treatment products to manage breakouts and skin irritation, over time there could be some cost savings but the initial investment was painful.

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Does my skin look amazing? Yea, totally. Are there are many things to love about this brand and their mission? Of course, I think that they are definitely working to set an industry standard and are transparent about the faults in the current clean/green beauty trends. I will keep using the products and tracking down answers to some of my questions. Something else to note, the brand is cruelty-free but not all of their products are vegan, you can read more on that here. Final thoughts, I feel less guilty about supporting this brand than others currently on the market but there’s room for improvement. Let me know your thoughts on the whole clean/green beauty movement. Are we just being duped?

QuiteSimplyStella(1)