Sunday, June 22, 2014

Electronic Feng Shui, When Thinking Hurts, and Beauty Secrets of the Cheap and Frazzled

I’m the opposite of a hoarder. I tend to go on these marathon cleaning sprees during which I Toss Out All the Things, usually to find out later that I actually need some of the things I tossed out. This weekend I got a little overly-enthusiastic with the electronic clean-up. I went at my Gmail like a mad woman, deleting sent items from as far back as 2010. Then I started to go through my personal documents, purging  and organizing those, too. Soon I had to e-mail a friend who had sent me some information for my novel and ask him to re-send it because I had perma-deleted it in my manic quest for good electronic Feng Shui. Before you snort, think about it—why shouldn’t e-Feng Shui be a thing?  You don’t want years of useless, disorganized clutter gumming up your home and blocking the energy flow, so why would you want that with your computer, where, let’s face it, most of us spend far more time than we should? I’m not quite done with Feng Shui-ing my PC, but I’ll get back to it sometime this weekend. I got a little distracted by quite an important mission I was needed for in Elder Scrolls Online. I can’t shirk my responsibilities in Tamriel!

Recently, comedian Marc Maron came out with a special called “Thinky Pain”. (It’s pretty good—you should check it out.) I think the title probably refers to the angst caused by being up in his head too much, but this week I have a different kind of thinky pain. I don’t want to work on my novel because I’ve gotten to a very technical part that I have to really plot out and plan carefully, and it’s been sunny out and I just want to hang out with my friend and help her pick raspberries and sit outside and let the sun warm my head. I don’t want to manage the nine zillion Rubik's-cube-like summer schedule change requests at work, because that requires thought and attention to detail. I don’t want to tackle the home filing because I just don’t bloody feel like putting any mental effort into anything. It’s like my brain drove off on vacation without me.

For months now, my eyelids have been breaking out with bouts of eczema—dry little flecks of skin that fall off onto my eyelashes and into my eyeballs. My guess is that it’s caused by a vicious cycle of allergies causing my eyes to itch, which causes me to scrub my eyes too hard when I wash my face (because it feels sooooo good in the moment!) which in turn causes irritation to the skin, which reacts by flaking, and then the flakes themselves cause itching and the whole cycle starts all over again. Today as I was slathering on an off-brand drugstore “mud masque” to remedy the situation, I started thinking about all of the money I have spent over my lifetime just to look presentable.  But since I'm super-cheap when it comes to makeup and beauty products, I’m probably on the low end of total expenditure compared to other women my age. Since you all have been secretly pining for my penny-pinching beauty secrets, here they are, at no cost to you!

  1. Splurge on high-quality mineral powder and foundation, and get your lipstick, mascara and eyeliner from your neighborhood drugstore. A cheap foundation is going to look like hell on your face, but there is no significant difference between the $32.00 eyeliner from MAC and the $6.00 eyeliner from the Maybelline rack
  2. Don’t pump your mascara wand up and down in the tube in an attempt to get more mascara on the brush. It will dry out your mascara and you’ll have to buy a new tube sooner
  3. Don’t spend $20.00 on a fancy lip gloss just because it has a really cool button-touch light-up mirror built into it. You don’t need that. You’re just temporarily enamored by a silly gadget. (I make these mistakes so you don’t have to, folks!)
  4. Take the samples at the Sephora counter! I got a tiny mascara that lasted almost six months, and little tubes of creams and exfoliaters that have lasted up to a year.
  5. Don’t let them jack you on that pricey mineral foundation in the glass bottle. There is at least another three month’s worth of product in that bottle after it stops coming out of the pump. It takes a little doing, but you can pry off the top, even if it looks impossible. It just takes a little determination. 
  6. A decent bang trim can make your haircut last longer. Most places will do them for free, but if you do it yourself, go slow and use good scissors on dry bangs. Don’t get impatient and cut one side too short and then desperately try to even it out on the other side until you look like that guy from “Dumb and Dumber.” For God’s sake, stop while you’re ahead.
  7. Never, ever try to do your own brows. Just pay a professional. I still have flashbacks to the time I decided make a quick “tweak” and ended up with half a left brow.
  8. The best face mask I have ever used was Freeman’s Peel-off Cucumber Mask--under $5.00 bucks at the drugstore. The best moisturizer I’ve found is Pond’s. I’ve spent tons of money on pricey skincare products that do nothing or actively damage my sensitive skin. Expensive is not necessarily better. Bonus tip: The less ingredients in the skincare product the better.

That’s how I’ve managed to be both cheap and relatively presentable lo these many years. Now go forth, and buyeth yourself some face paint from Walgreens!

--Kristen McHenry

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