Trader Joe’s 5 Cheese Greek Spiral

People all have different ways of rewarding themselves. In my case each week or every couple of weeks I like to treat myself to one new-to-me item from Trader Joe’s. I’m a bargain shopper and although I love Trader Joe’s it’s not the place I go to when I want to save on fresh produce and dairy. I save Trader Joe’s for special items that I can’t get anywhere else, like this 5 Cheese Greek Spiral ($3.99) that I ended up loving. Put simply: totally delish, highly recommend and would definitely repurchase.

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$0.75 beautyblender Sponge Holder

It’s lightweight, aesthetically pleasing in its simplicity, and sure to go with most people’s decor. The conical shape fits a damp, fully expanded beautyblender sponge perfectly without squishing it and the spaces between the wire allow sufficient ventilation for the damp sponge to air dry. The best part is it’s only $0.75!

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Starting Fresh

Would this qualify as a capsule collection? Not counting nail polishes but including brushes and tools my current collection totals 35 pieces. I feel like capsule collections are usually even smaller than this but I’m quite satisfied with how much I’ve eliminated from my makeup stash over the past two years. For a girl who started with 100+ blushes, 100+ lipsticks, and dozens of eye shadow palettes and highlighters, I think I’ve come a long way.

I’ve been gradually purging makeup since 2014 in an effort to streamline my makeup regimen. It had gotten to the point where I felt burdened by the sheer amount of makeup I owned. When I realized I could literally use a different blush or lipstick everyday for four months straight with no repeats I decided I needed to make a change. A kinder person (or an enabler) would’ve called me a makeup collector but the truth was I was a makeup hoarder. Even though I had so much makeup, I was really only using a handful of products regularly. I decided then and there that I had to edit my stash, keep only the items that I truly love and use, and get rid of everything else.

Letting go was, and is, a constant struggle especially when it comes to purging limited edition makeup but I’ve done it and I have no regrets. If you’re considering purging but feel hesitant, just know that the process gets easier the more you do it. It’s the first step that’s the most difficult.

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Flushing Chinese Bakery Crawl

You’ve heard of a pub crawl. Well, I don’t drink alcohol — not because of any moral/ethical/religious beliefs but because I don’t like the taste — but every once in awhile I like to do a crawl of all the Asian bakeries in downtown Flushing, NY. I just look up all of the Chinese bakeries in Flushing using the Yelp app on my phone and then walk a grid south-to-north between Cherry Ave. and Northern Blvd. and east-to-west between Kissena Blvd. and Main St.. There’s some leeway there, though, because there are a lot of bakeries on the side streets right off of Main St.. I do this once every 3 or 4 months because there are new coffee shop/bakeries popping up all the time.

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CVS Haul

For my first haul of the new year, I restocked my supply of Stridex Alcohol Free Maximum Pads (2/$10) and picked up a few new items to try.

I spotted a limited edition Wet n Wild display and decided to grab the nail polish in the shade “R-U-Free-2 Dance?” ($2.99), a translucent sheer lavender topcoat with blue/green iridescence that would probably look amazing over black/dark polish. In hindsight I’m not sure why I bought it because I’ve moved away from shimmer polishes in the past couple of years and I never wear dark polishes. In fact, I purged all the dark nail polishes from my stash and, unfortunately, I think you really need one in order to make a topcoat like R-U-Free-2-Dance? pop. As has become a bad habit, I think I bought it because it was a limited edition; I always feel such a high and a sense of accomplishment whenever I’m able to locate a hard to find collection. I haven’t even used it and I’ll probably either return it or sell it off on my blog sale.

I had four CVS Extrabucks that were set to expire and they just about covered the cost of a tin of Vaseline Rosy Lips ($3.99). Again, this is another purchase I probably could’ve done without but I was scrambling to find something to spend my store dollars on and that was all I could think of. I’m a huge fan of Vaseline but not as a lip balm; I prefer thicker, heavier lip balms but Rosy Lips is actually something I can use.

But perhaps my biggest, best find was the Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Instant Mask that normally retails for $13.29 but was on clearance for $3.32. This is a 5% glycolic, clear gel face mask that you wear for 10 minutes then rinse off. The glycolic concentration is a lot less than what I’m used to — I normally use the Paula’s Choice 8% AHA gel or the L’Oreal Revitalift Bright Reveal Daily Pads 10% glycolic — but my skin’s a bit sensitive now with the colder, dryer weather so I think the Nip +Fab mask will do nicely in the meantime. I wasn’t sure how much I’d like the product or how quickly I’d go through a tube so I decided to purchase four boxes. I didn’t want to regret not buying more in case I fell in love with the product. Coincidentally I had received a $3 Nip + Fab coupon in the mail from CVS that very day, so it’s like I got one Nip + Fab mask for free.

There were a few other Nip + Fab items that were also on clearance including the Dragon’s Blood Fix Pads (cool name!) that contain salicylic and hyaluronic acids which are great ingredients but unfortunately also include lots of alcohol which I try to avoid. That was marked down to $3 and change as well in case anyone’s interested.