Monday, January 9, 2017

12 Pans of Christmas Finale and 2017 Goals

Remember me whining about how my mid-project update for 12 Pans of Christmas wasn't as eventful as I would've hoped? Yeah, that was pretty prophetic. Technically, I hit half of the goals for this project by finishing 5 of the listed products and decluttering a sixth, but a lot of the "big ticket" items are still on the list.

As a reminder, I decided to modify at least one of the goals when I realized that the Coconut Balm Dot Com is my personal favorite Glossier balm. Instead, I used all four of my Balm Dot Coms more regularly and made small dents. The other change since my mid-project update is that I decided to declutter the Bite High Pigment Pencil in Velvet instead of panning it. I still love the color and the formula, but I no longer think those flower petal pinks flatter me; I'm more likely to reach for a softer, "nude pink" shade or a full-on fuchsia.

With that cleared up, here are the goals I hit:
  • Makeup Forever Excessive Lash deluxe sample -- It takes me about 2-3 months to go through a mascara sample, but I always manage! This was a generous sample tube, so it lasted for a full 3 months. I loved the volume it provided and how easy it was to get down in to the roots of my lashes with the thin, soft brush. Unfortunately, I find that Makeup Forever mascaras dry up very quickly.
  • Nuxe Reve de Miel -- There's technically a tiny amount of balm left in this pot, as you can see in the photo above, but it's next to nothing. I consider it finished. I fell in love with this lip balm in 2016; it's now a staple and my new tub arrived last week.
  • Gold Bond Ultimate Restoring Lotion CoQ10 -- Uuuuuugh, this shit smells like a urinal cake in a jar of hippy-dippy herbal medicine, and it's so sticky when you first apply it! I finished this thing as quickly as I could back in November.
  • any perfume sample -- I actually finished two 3 milliliter tubes of perfume! The first is Thierry Mugler Alien Essence Absolue, which both my partner and I love. I'm just too cheap to buy a bottle of another vanilla fragrance right now, even at a steep discount on FragranceNet. The second is Guerlain L'Instant de Guerlain Eau de Noel Iris Millesime, which was discontinued a few years ago. It's full of iris (duh), amber, and honey, and while it's super pretty, I think it's too feminine for my personality and it doesn't really suit me.
  • any five sample packets -- I've been working through sample packets like woah. More on that in a moment.
Here are the goals I did not hit:
  • Milani Liquid Eyes pencil -- Given how often you have to sharpen this super-soft liner, I was shocked that I barely made a dent in it. It turns out I am really lazy with my eye makeup: I don't even tightline much anymore.
  • Ouai Wave Spray deluxe sample -- I used about half of this bottle and enjoyed it, but to be honest, I have bad hair and it doesn't look great with that whole "beachy wave vibe." Instead, I use this on ponytails and braids for a bit of texture. It'll last me until I die, most likely. 
  • Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper deluxe sample -- Actually, I think this little guy is on its last legs and will die at the end of January/beginning of February, along with several other makeup products. Still, I'm bummed that I didn't finish it for this project.
  • MAC Chromagraphic pencil in Basic Red -- I've only sharpened this once over the past few months. It's weird to realize how many of my red lipsticks can be applied without liner...
  • Colourpop Brow Pencil in Bangin' Brunette -- How did I not finish this wisp-thin pencil?! Lord, I wish I could wind it up and see how much is left. As with the KvD liner, I think this will be finished within the month, but because it's not retractable, I can't really fucking tell!

 So again, it's not a complete failure of a project, but...I dunno, I was just hoping to do better. Part of the problem, it seems, is that I'm so close to finishing quite a few makeup and skincare items, but once you get them 95% empty, the last 5% turns in to a bottomless pit. Surely my perception is warped by the more successful Beauty Roulettes and Project Pans I did in 2016.

With that in mind, I'll be taking a break from traditional panning and use-it-up projects for a few months. It'll be good for me to use my makeup collection as I see fit. However, I'm on a casual, year-long quest to finish as many deluxe samples and foil packets as I can. I mentioned this on Snapchat and Instagram, and for the most part, I'll be keeping track on those platforms to avoid clogging up the blog. Deluxe samples will appear in my Empties videos and will be added to the overall value of products finished; foils will simply be discarded after they're photographed.

Finishing 50-some samples may not seem tough, by the way, but I am a devoted patch tester. This could easily take up all of 2017.

Also, the $250 budget for 2017 is still on! It's already working its magic, too: I was in Sephora with a friend who had to pick up some of his skincare staples, and even though I was armed with a sizeable assortment of Sephora gift cards, I didn't buy anything. I just kept thinking, "Well, it's only January. Do I really want to start cracking in to that budget already?" Instead, I asked for samples (the sales associate was more than generous). As of this post, I've bought one product, the aforementioned Nuxe Reve de Miel balm, which does not deduct from my budget because it's a staple. Even buying that made me stop for a second! I'm liking how this budget forces me to carefully consider my purchases.

Finally, I came up with some goals for 2017! While I jotted down ten, I'm only going to mention the ones that are relevant to my blogosphere.
  1. Be less wasteful. I want to use washable towels instead of face cottons and papers towels whenever possible. I've also purchased reusable, dishwasher safe glass and plastic straws (no more disposable straws!) and a great coffee mug with an airtight seal (no more campus coffee in paper cups!).
  2. Be more adventurous! I had a rough 2016, and no, it wasn't because of celebrity deaths. (Although I must admit that losing people like Leonard Cohen and Carrie Fisher...that's still hard for me to fathom. I grew up with Star Wars and "Famous Blue Raincoat" is my favorite song.) Without getting in to too much detail, I spent a good bit of my year holed up in my bedroom, avoiding the walks and day trips I used to love. This also prompted me to spend more, because getting a package is an easy way to brighten a day. I wasted so much time and money in 2016 feeling sad.
  3. Maintain that $250 budget. It's still early in the year--there could always be a catastrophic spending spree that ruins the whole thing. To try and prevent that, I'll be updating you guys on what's left of the budget throughout the year. Monthly updates are a bit much, so I'll strive for seasonal or bi-monthly posts instead.
  4. Finish at least $1000 worth of products. Looking at what is close to finished in my collection, I think I'll make a big dent in the first half of the year, then slow down in the second half. I just hope I stay consistent instead of panicking.
  5. Save up for a new camera trip with my partner. Initially, I planned on squirreling away as much money as possible for a Canon Rebel T6i. But I think a weekend trip with That Dude I'm Marrying will make me happier in the long run. This goal should encourage me to spend less on beauty products: you can't travel if you're dropping your pocket change on your 32nd tube of lip balm or a face powder you really don't need.
 And that's it! I want this blog to continue to be relevant and useful to you, which may seem difficult in light of my "use-it-up" goals. But trust and believe, I have a steady backlog of products to review, including two foundations, several skincare products, and a slew of deluxe samples. The Lipstick Diaries has been rebooted, and my "to write" list already runs through February. My interest in what's new and my bad habit of showing you way too many high-def shots of my nose hair hasn't changed. I'm just trying to be more like Chris Traeger when it comes to my beauty products:


  1. I really identify with your second point. Depression hit me pretty hard in 2016, and there were days when I'd be afraid to go outside for fear I'd have a panic attack or start crying in public (which did happen a few times). But I wonder if framing "be more adventurous" as a resolution isn't a little unkind to yourself. I just don't want you to feel like you've failed if your mental state doesn't allow you to totally transform your habits.

    1. Hmmm, I dunno. I wonder if I should've phrased it, "Be less socially isolated." I don't think I do myself any favors hiding in my bedroom instead of, say, taking a trip to the mall or eating alone in a restaurant, all because I've convinced myself that the world is better off without my awkward presence.

    2. Oh, okay. I agree that changing your behavior can often be the first step to changing your mental habits. Best of luck!

  2. I agree, sometimes you gotta budget yourself so you can have better moments in like that really stick with you like a trip.

  3. In terms of your second point, I totally agree that a Sephora package (or a MAC lipstick) can brighten up a shitty day!

    1. But see, that's a problem! It's a band-aid: it makes us feel good for a brief moment when we open it, swatch it, try it for the first time...and then it's gone. It doesn't last. So we buy more and more to get the same feeling.

      I actually read an essay by Jane McGonigal a while back that pointed out how we're conditioned to think happiness comes from external sources, like praise from our boss or material possessions, but studies show that lasting happiness actually comes from within. It sounds hippy-dippy, but it's kind of true: "satisfying work" and "meaningful work" has made me far happier than some of my other jobs, even if I make less money.

  4. Hit the nail on the head - finding meaningful work in the age of the Internet - a hellish experience!

  5. I really like your goals - they're meaningful and will add a lot of value to your life. I like your idea of tracking the value of products you've used up, too.

    I hope you have the trip of your dreams! That's a great goal to work towards. I'm talking myself out of frivolous purchases with the knowledge that I have international tuition to pay come September - it's good to have a bigger picture goal like that to keep you from buying crap you don't need.

    (By the way, I finished up my tub of RĂªve de Miel last night - I literally scraped every last bit from the sides. I went to 5 different stores today to get a replacement because I cannot be without it for a month. That's how you know it's good!)

    1. Yes, thinking about what else I could spend that money on always helps! And I was missing Reve de Miel for the few nights I was without it.