Monday, March 2, 2015

Why Are Bra Closures At The Back And Not At The Front?

Montelle Pure Plus Smooth Front Closure Bra, 30-40, D-G


One reader sent me the following question:

"Why do bras do up at the back? Why can't they do up in front, with a lace up at the back so that we can tighten up when we need it. Or maybe the lacing on the side vents. Front clasps would be so much more comfortable and maybe sexy?:)"

   From what I've heard there are plenty of people who would like to see bras that close at the front, especially women who don't have the full range of movement in their shoulders and arms, as well as anyone who has to spend a lot of time lying down in bed due to medical reasons.

   The reason closures are usually in the front is because it's simpler to sew. There isn't enough space in the front for a 3x3 hook closure; so most bras that close in the front have just a simple hook and eye, and the whole construction looks rather unstable and incapable of supporting bigger breast sizes. Also, such closures completely lack any kind of way to make the band tighter, and this really decreases the life-span of a bra.
   While the simple hook closure fits between the breast of women who have wide-spaced breasts, it feels uncomfortable for women with closely-spaced breasts. Sternums are often sensitive especially if there is not much padding in the area, and many women would not find a closure there uncomfortable.

   That said, front closures have one more advantages apart from ease of use --- they can bring the breasts closer together and give amazing cleavage. Plus, the backs are very smooth and pretty. Another things that pops to my mind is that front-closures would suprise most guys, who would desperately  go "how on earth does this open, where is the closure, help!"

   A couple of brands that do wired front-closure bras are Wacoal, Eva Bien, Montelle, La Perla, Spanx, Calvin Klein, however these brands usually don't offer the full range of sizes. I was pretty excited when I realised that Parfait Affinitas carries the Nicole bra in the Racerback Contour style which has a front-closure, but it comes in a very small range of sizes.

  I'm guessing there isn't much voiced demand for front-closure bras. So if you think that you (or a female relative) might be really happy with a pretty, supportive bra with a front-closure, why don't you try writing in to your favourite bra brand? There are lingerie brands out there that have taken the suggestions of customers and bloggers to heart. Here is a list of bra brands that listen.

  And a last note: you don't have to close back-closure on the back; you can put on your bra back-to-front, close the hooks and then turn it cup-to-front. Yes, I realise that this is still too much gymnastics for someone with, say, elbow issues, but it's still slightly easier.

   What's your opinion on front-closure bras? Do you have any brands and styles to recommend?



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Sunday, March 1, 2015

Oil Your Skin Before Showering + Ayurvedic Abhyanga Massage



  Come winter and I ditch my body moisturisers and lotions for oils and butters. Oils give the skin a kind of healthy glow that lasts for days. Plus, I find it fun to mix and match my oils and essential oils -- I go for patchouli and sandalwood when I want something exotic, lavender to relax, orange to brighten my mood and rosemary if I've got a cold.
   Oils take a bit longer to soak in, so I've been going the Ayurvedic method and applying oil on my skin before taking a warm shower -- the water helps the oils to penetrate the skin and make it really soft and nourished. After the shower my skin isn't oily any more.
   My skin needs the extra nourishment, and I enjoy the moments spent on taking care of my body. Recently I have been taking a couple of minutes more and turning it into a small comforting massage. It's incredibly relaxing, and he oil penetrates the skin better. I use this video that explains how to give yourself a self-massage the Ayurvedic way:



  Maybe you've noticed that the strokes in Abhyanga are really similar to those in dry brushing, because both work to support the lymph system and the blood circulation.
   A massage like that at the end of the day is really grounding and helps me sleep better. I just do Abhyanga just on my feet with sesame oil when I feel particularly restless and know I'll have a hard time falling asleep. I'm a Vata-Pitta type and the sesame oil combined with a massage really grounds me. I have been using the Love Me Green Organic Massage Oil which is based on sesame oil, is nicely smooth and not sticky, and smells like Frangipani. The Papaya massage oil from Alterra (Rossmann) also has a lot of sesame oil in it. When I mix my own oils it's usually some blend of almond oil, wheat germ oil, jojoba oil,  sesame oil and essential oils.
   And in case you are wondering about the skin being still oily after the shower -- this really depends on the oils used and on the state my skin is in that day. If there is too much oil on my skin at the end of a shower, I use a gentle soap or body wash to clean it off -- not very thoroughly, just enough to not feel slick. My towel removes all other traces, and by the time I'm dry my skin is moisturised but not the tiniest bit greasy.

   Do you reach for oils and butters in the cold weather? Do you like  massages? What are your cold-weather beauty rituals?
Image Credit: Rachel K



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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Avocado Giveway Winner!





And the winner is Kendra!

   Congrats Kendra! I have sent you an email at sa********tz@gmail.com If you can't see it, check your spam folder.



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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Weekend Reads 20-02-2015





  Did you know that the 19th of March is officially the first day of spring? For me the ending of winter means wrapping up my small and big home projects. The warm season is gardening season, and I spend much more time outdoors. Winter is "nesting time", when I like to potter around the house, fix things, do some DIYs, an Apartment Therapy Cure, or -- this time -- purge the home with the help of Marie Kondo's magical little book. I'm writing this post squeezed between a (cute, new, second-hand) cupboard and a sofa, which are standing in the middle of the room till my husband decides where he wants to put his terrarium.

  On to the links for this weekend:

* Ambient Mixer has the best ambient sounds, from classic ones like a fireplace to beautifully complex ones like Tom Bombadil's Home. And you can mix your own ambient sounds too!

* Whaaat, it's apparently really easy to adjust clip-on earrings so that that don't pinch or slip off. All the beautiful clip-on earring that I have gotten rid off because I didn't know this!

* Scandi Chic!

* Was Coco Chanel a Nazi agent, or "only" anti-Semitic and homophobic?

* Another great way to wear your hair to bed

* What a difference the right pieces can make, aka how to look effortless chic and not frumpy in a tank-top and jean.

* I recently discovered the Free People blog. A must-see for lovers of Boho style and décor, or if you love DIYs with natural objects. Plus, their videos are adorable, if cheesy. This one is my favourite:


Photo credit: me



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Thursday, February 19, 2015

How To Fight Flat Hair Roots And Get More Lift + Volume



   These days I like to think of my hair as my mane. It has tons of volume, movement, and is so very me. But it wasn't always this way, especially with the volume. I used to have hair that lay completely flat on my head and I thought that my hair would never ever be lifted at the roots. If you think so too, this story is for you. It took a few tweaks to my routine to get lift and volume on the top of my head.
   A friend was complaining about her flat hair roots, and so I showed her a photo of how mine looked for years. There you go: 



That was the situation for most of my adult life. Till I realised that root lift is something that you can get if you want to.

My roots now:

   It took a couple of tweaks in my hair care routine to get this change.

On the aesthetics of flat vs volume on scalp:

   No volume at the root often comes together with straight, smooth hair and can look very beautiful. The advantage of volume at the roots it that it makes the hair look healthier, and is flattering for most face shapes because it lengthens it. In spite of that, hair that is lifted at the roots is a learned taste and a matter of personal preference. In India root volume wasn't important, but the hair was supposed to be sleek and smooth (like this or this hair product ad, compare to an European ad, incidentally it has Leighton Meester in it, ahhh). East Asian hair can look amazing when it's straight, heavy and, yes, flat.


 How to get more root volume

   Here is what you can do to get more lift at the roots. Of course mileage will vary, and the right haircut is probably the most important of all the tips.

Sleep with your hair on top of your head

   I do my hair in a ballerina bun right on top of my head to sleep and when I hang around the house. Alternatively I just grab it in a loose messy pile and secure with a huge clip. It might feel weird at first but the hair roots get used to it fast, and you get instant volume! At first the volume hold only for a few hours, but gradually as you implement the other changes it will last for the whole day.

The right cut

  I used to have longer hair that cut straight at the ends. It gave me triangle-head, flat on top and voluminous at the bottom. Then my hair dresser gave me lovely layers which make the hair much lighter, it doesn't hang so heavily any more and is "lighter" at the roots. Even though a lot of hair gets cut away every time, it actually looks fuller because of the layers and the movement.
   You need to get a hairdresser that understands your hair type and knows how to work with it, because thick heavy hair will need a different cut than thin silky hair. You also need to explain to them that you want more volume on top, and understand that not all cuts can give you that.

Blow drying your hair for root volume

   If you blow-dry, do it while hanging your head upside down and using a diffuser attachment (you can buy this separately and attach to the dryer you already own). You could also pull the hair up on a round brush.

Clip drying for root lift 

   If air drying, use small clips to lift your hair at the roots. Here are a couple of good examples. I'm usually lazy and use three bigger duckbill clips. I haven't tried them myself, but HiClips also look promising. You can also try wearing your hair to dry in a twisted ballerina bun while waiting for it to dry.

Switch up your part

   Keep your hair on its toes and don't always wear the same part. If you wear a right part, try drying (and even styling) your hair with the left part, and then flip it to the right part at the end. Sleep with a different part.

Fighting hat hair

   Before putting on your cap or hat, flip your hair to one side (if you already wear your hair flipped or parted to one side, flip it to the other side). Put on the cap. When you remove it, flip your hair back to how you normally wear it. Your hair won't be flat at the roots!

Cleanse your hair and scalp

   Silicons often weigh the hair down, so try switching to a silicon-free hair regimen. Once in a while clarify your hair to get rid of product buildup. A scalp scrub with clean the scalp from old skin flakes.

Condition before washing

    Use richer hair conditioners, masques or oils before shampooing, leave on for at least 30 mins under a shower cap. Shampoo only the scalp. After this your hair should be conditioned but not weighed down. If your hair is really dry and still needs moisture or emollients after shampooing, use a very light conditioner (leave-ins are really light, or you can dilute a regular one with water) and apply from ears down.

Deal with your oily scalp

    Here is my post on dealing with an oily scalp. Switch to a gentler shampoo that won't aggravate the oiliness. Use simple scalp treatments. Don't wash the hair with hot water. And always rinse of the hair really well.

Go easy on the brushing

   Brushing can pull the hair flat and spoil it's structure. For curly and wavy hair often a bit of detangling with the fingers is all it takes, you can also use a wide-toothed comb. I rarely brush at all, and if I do it's usually before washing, when I want to give my scalp a nice massage and spread the oils from roots to end. My hair doesn't tangle, though it used to tangle a lot before I started taking care of it.

Henna

   Henna gave me more volume that I have ever had. I love the Henna from Khadi, it colours quite well and is easier to apply than any other I have used. If you don't want to change your hair colour, you can get a shade that is close to your own, or try the colourless Cassia. Conditioners that contain Henna also add volume, although the effect is not so dramatic.

Lifting products

   When shopping for products that promise lift and volume always pick the ones without alcohol. Dry shampoo is a life saver if your scalp is getting really greasy. I love the one from Klorane. Scalp treatments can also make the scalp a bit fresher. The Taft voluminising Powder gives a lot of volume, however give the hair a weird texture (when you touch it) and is hard to wash out.
   My personal favourite is the DIY flaxseed gel.


  I hope these tips are useful for you and help you get your desired level of root lift. If you have any tips to add, do share in the comments! What makes your roots lifted, and what gives you a flat head?
  PS I you haven't entered the Avocado bra give-away, go and do it now! I you have, remember that you can tweet about it each day to get more entries.


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Friday, February 13, 2015

Giveway! Avocado Essentia Bras Review And Giveaway!




    Today I wanted to show you two different styles of the Essentia bra from the    Polish brand Avocado. Also, one lucky reader can win an Essentia bra!

   First, a small announcements: Avocado is looking for wholesale buyers, if you know someone who is interested, do contact them at paulina.gizycka(at)avocado.com.pl
   Avocado is a brand that is focused on bigger cups, and carries bras in five different constructions which are named after a letter of the alphabet, all nicely explained here. The Essentia line is the most affordable of their lingerie, and in it's simplicity a departure from the luxurious style of the brand.
   I got a black Essentia in the K shape and the caramel one in a H style. These styles did not work as well for me as the A style did, but they could be the absolute hit for breast styles different from mine.

   The bras were provided to me as a review sample, but all opinions are my own, as always. Currently my measurements are 68/81. I got a 65D in both styles, but remember that Avocado has its own sizing!


Aesthetics: 4/5

    The Essentias are designed to be simple but interesting everyday bras that don't show up under clothing. I heard that the design was even simpler before, but the clients wanted a bit more decorations. As for me, it is refreshing to see a bra other than the Panache Tango II that can be worn under fitting clothing but is not a (padded, boring) T-shirt bra. That is the reason that I gave the Avocado Essentias 4/5 for aesthetics even though the style is not drop-dead gorgeous.
    The cups and a part of the wings are made of a pretty mesh, which is backed by a softer fabric on the lower parts of the cups and by a simple net on the top of the cups and the wings. The top edge is lined with a thin strip of lace. There is a small key charm between the cups, it's the only element that sticks out under T-shirts but it can be snipped off easily. I like the effect of the pattern on the mesh, it makes the bra look interesting yet simple.
  The colour of the caramel bra is  a rather unsaturated caramel, rather sepia. I think that the photo above is pretty accurate, at least on my screen.





Fit: 1-3/5

  Though both the H and the K styles didn't work for me, they might be amazing on other women.
   The cups of the two bras have a 3-piece basic cut, but very different proportions. For the purposes of the next paragraph, I'll call the three parts of the cup the outside piece (the one near the armpits), the inside (near the gore) and the top piece.
   On me, neither cut worked as well as the A cut did. In the H style there was loose space on the outer top parts of the cups. If you look at the photos of the caramel H Essentia bra you will see that the strap is attached to the outside piece of the cup; and when the straps are pulled tight then the entire outer piece of the cup becomes flatter. This is why the cups still kind of fit me but the material of the outside piece wrinkles.
    In the black K style the strap is attached to the top piece of the cup, and when the straps are pulled tight only the elastic on the outside piece of the cup gets stretched (the elastic starts at the end of the strap and goes to the under-wire). On me there was too much free space on the top of the cups. The K has a lot of projection where the horizontal seam is, much more than I need. I would like to have tried it in a smaller cup, but unfortunately the 65D is as small as Avocado goes.
   The top of both the cups are lined with elastic, however this doesn't seem to stretch at all (unlike that on the A cup). Both cups are rather closed on top, so if you have full-on-top breasts the edge may cut in a bit.
  
   The underwires of the H style are much longer and narrower than those of the K style. Generally Avocado is the holy grail for women who need narrower underwires. The underwires of the K model are shorter, so they feel wider even though they aren't really. The center gore of the H model is around 1cm shorter than that of the black.
    Straps are fully adjustable, but not very long -- if you usually need longer straps you might be disappointed.. They are much more widely spaced in the caramel than in the black.
    The Avocado bands are generally nicely snug, and the Essentias are no exception.




Comfort: 5/5

   Avocado bras are some of the most comfortable ones I have tried. The part I liked best is that the hook closure of the band has a little padded cushion! The hooks and eyes themselves seem to more rounded and flatter than those of any other bra I have seen. The mesh fabric is soft and not at all scratchy. Even the inside of the straps is softer.
  I have not felt any discomfort from the band or the underwires.

 

Summary:

   The Avocado H and K styles are not "mine", and in the future I would go for the A cut (as well as cuts I haven't tried yet). However these cuts could work for women with different breast shapes from mine. I must say I enjoy the way Avocado has labelled their five different cuts, which really helps to navigate through all the bras that they offer. It saves you a lot of guesswork -- many other brands re-use the same cuts, but as they don't give out the information it's often a matter of guesswork and luck to stumble upon another bra in a cut that works for you.
   If you have tried the Avocado Essentia, let me know in the comments how it worked for you!

Avocado Essentia S192K in black Stats:

Band unstretched: 60CM
Band stretched to the maximum: 78cm
Underwire length: 19,5
Underwire width:  12,5cm

Avocado Essentia S192Hn in caramel Stats:

Band unstretched: 62cm
Band stretched to the maximum: 80cm
Underwire length: 23cm
Underwire width: 13cm



Avocado Essentia Giveaway!


   Avocado is kindly sponsoring a give-away! One lucky winner gets an Essentia bra in the cut and colour of their choice (of course you can exchange it if you don't get the right style or size the first time).
  You can enter via the Rafflecopter form below, and don't forget to tweet to get extra entries.
   The giveaway is open worldwide and the winner will be notified via email (check your spam folder) and on this blog. Good luck!







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Sunday, February 8, 2015

Sexy Bras In Bigger Cup Sizes! Reader Request: Valentines Day In G+ Bras


Curvy Kate Carmen Rose

Arielle wrote in with this request:

   I've been following your blog for a few years now, and you've well-beyond converted me to finding bras that actually fit (32G/30GG after years of being a 36 DD). You have so much information about bras for everyday, which is great, but with Valentine's Day coming soon, I've recently been searching for fancy/sexy/Victoria-Secret-esq lingerie that will actually fit my boobs. I confess I did stop in VS the other day to try on a few pieces that were in my "old size" and my boobs just looked so saggy and unsexy... I've been looking online a bit but pickings are small...do you have any advice on places to look? I'm based in the US, but I have a feeling Europe is more size-friendly?

  So, sexy lingerie in a GG cup? A new bigger-cupped brands are cropping up and existing brands expand their size range, finding beautiful lingerie in G+ sizes is not mission impossible anymore. Sexy can mean different things to different women -- it can be sheer black lace or cheetah print, lace and ruffles or red satin. For one person a sexy bra means sheer low-cut cups, for another it is a push-up that creates a killer cleavage, for yet another it would be a romantic retro longline. But one thing for sure -- there is nothing as sexy as a well-fitted bra in the right size which will give you lift and shape that will make you look great and feel confident.
   A good place to start for US-based women would be BareNecessities which carries a huge selection of brands in the full size range. Just be aware that prices may vary a lot in different online stores, so shop around if you are on a budget.
   Here are a couple of suggestions, do chime in with your recommendations in the comments!

The US brand Parfait Affinitas have a couple of sexy bras in a G cup, the Charlotte and Kitty models spring to mind. The aesthetics are understated and elegant.
Another US-based brand Change offer some sexy styles, including the Intimate Britney Spears Anemone (another review here) which is a sexy cage bra that comes in a bigger cup.

Most of big-cup-friendly brands are from the UK. Many of these you can buy in Nordstorm or through US-based online stores, or directly from the UK.
Curvy Kate bras is what I recommend to women who are fans of a retro-burlesque look and rich colours.
Panache bras are rather conservative when it comes to design but it's sister brand Cleo is fun and girly; while Masquerade has a couple of glamourous styles that come in bigger cups (like the Antoinette).
Freya with it's bright colours, sheers fabrics an interesting option if you are looking for something fun and youthful. 
Pour Moi? offers the Forbidden which is a cage / harness style that comes is several styles and colours and comes with some killer bottoms.
Fantasie's luxurious line Fauve has a couple of beautiful bras in bigger sizes, as well as bustiers. I used to think that Fantasie is stuffy, but I ended up loving the looks of their Allegra and the more boudoir Elodie.
Bravissimo has a couple inexpensive offerings, I personally like their Rococo Charm and the  Lola Luxe Basque.
Avocado Valentina

Prefer continental Europe?
Ewa Michalak is probably the winner when it comes to shape, comfort and lift for bigger cups. They will also custom-make bras for you if you want one that doesn't come in your size. The aesthetics is definitely not minimalistic, expect lace, colours, patterns. Their Babydoll with a built-in bra is cute. They even have a new model called Victoria's Secret. Cheeky!

Avocado has narrower cups and more classic designs. They have their own sizing, you can find the sizing guide on their site. The Valentina In Love is a classic black lace design.

Empreinte is a French brand that I have discovered really recently. Their seduction line has several beautiful bra models that are the elegant kind of sexy. If you click on "details of the forms" on the right, you'll see that each bra comes in several styles. However the cups go up only to G.
  Over to you, dear readers. What you add to this list? And, most importantly, which bra would you pick if you were aiming to seduce?



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Thursday, February 5, 2015

Bra Review: Avocado Jewel A In Choco Chili In 65D


   A while back I wrote about Avocado as one of the interesting bra brands from Poland that carry affordable bras in a full size range. I got a chance to try and review a couple of Avocado bras, and today I will talk about the Jewel choco chili, the next post will cover another model and a giveway!
   The bra has been provided to me as a review sample, but all opinions are my own, as always. Currently my measurements are 68/81.

   Avocado carries bras in five different constructions which are named after a letter of the alphabet, all nicely explained here. The Jewel comes in the A and the H cut, I got the A. There are also two colour versions: I got the choco-chili which flatters my deep autumn colouring, but if you prefer something cooler and brighter you might love the pink-magenta version.


 

Aesthetics: 5/5

  The Jewel is a handsome bra with its folklore-ish embroidery and chocolate-brown mesh. A continuation of the floral embroidery on the straps is a nice touch and there is even a small decorative detail on the closure at the back. The rich brown colour of the choco-chiliis quite flattering on warmer skin tones.
   The hooks and clasps and eyelets are made of metal which is coloured to exactly match the fabric. The bow in the center complements the embroidery, but can be easily removed if you are not into bows. The entire bra looks well-made and luxurious.
   The embroidery is visible under tight and thin fabric,as you can see on the photos at the bottom of the post.


 
 

Fit: 4/5

   Avocado cups tend to run narrow and deep, however the A cut seems the least deep of them all.
  The cups are rather projected, definitely not for those with shallow breasts. The deepest point of the cups is center-front. The underwires are rather narrow. They are not very long, and don’t go up very high in the front or the underarms. The gore is very narrow (the underwires are close together in the front).
   The cups are build for narrower breasts that are projected and closer together. I was pretty surprised that the narrow underwires fit me, since I always needed very wide underwires in the past. I think that years of wearing the right size + the Braologie bra has moved my tissue from around the armpits towards the center. The underwires of the Avocado Jewel are on the soft and flexible side.
   The top edge of the cups is backed by a thin elastic, which pulls it in and makes the cup "closed" at the top. This will probably  slightly loosen with time, making the top edge a bit more "open", like I experienced in the Discover Mademoiselle Clara Bow.
    Straps are two-piece and can be regulated only half of the way. They are set rather close together.
   The Avocado Jewel gives a lot of lift, especially for a unpadded bra. It gave me a centered and rounded shape that still looks natural

    A note on the Avocado cup sizes: they have their own sizing system which skips the double letters. You can shoot them an email if you are not sure about which size you should pick.


Comfort: 5/5

   The mesh is very soft and doesn't scratch at all.
A point for the hook closure: the hooks are slightly flatter than average, which makes them very comfortable.
   he boning in the band is so light and comfortable that I hadn't noticed it until anther blogger pointed it out.
  The low and narrow gore means I have had absolutely no discomfort in that area. The underwires are rather flexible and adjust well to the shape of my ribcage.




Summary:

   The Avocado Jewel choco chili is great for women who prefer narrower underwires and have breasts with a lot of projection. If you need something broader, try the H cut. I personally think that it's amazing that the same design is available in two different cuts -- how many times have you seen a bra that you loved but the cut didn't work for you?
   Also, if one cut fits you really well, you can buy other bras in the same cut basically with your eyes closed.




Avocado Jewel A Stats:

Band unstretched: 63cm
Band stretched to the maximum: 82cm
Underwire length: 20cm
Underwire width: 13cm
   These measurements have been taken after appx. 5 wears :)

More reviews on (blogs, bratabase) 
Undiegamer reviews the Jewel, but in the H cut


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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Keeping Makeup Brushes Clean + The Problem With Microfibre Cloths



    A while back I had some skin issues that reminded my that I had to pay attention to keeping my beauty tools cleaner.
   Microfiber cloths are great for removing make-up and exfoliating and I love them, however they don't show up dirt as much as cotton pads do. Because of that I often wasn't removing my make-up fully. Try checking how many cotton pads you need to use with your preferred cleansing method till you get a clean white pad, and use the same amount of microfibre cloth squares.

   My second issue was make-up brushes. Being a germ-loving European, I had been neglecting this. Then I realised that the build-up of facial oils, face products, make-up and dust on my brushes wasn't doing my skin any good. Now I wash my most used brushes (foundation, powder, concealer, highlighter, blush/bronzer) every Friday -- because that's the day the bedroom gets cleaned, and on the way around the room I pick up the brushes from my make-up station and give them a clean. I don't wear make-up every day and use mostly dry products (minerals), so once a week is sufficient for my brushes. Also, I get annoyed if they aren't dry the next day. (BTW this is how I dry my brushes).
   Bottom line: my skin started looking much better once I got diligent about cleaning my brushes. Clean brushes also do a much better job of applying make-up.

     What's your brush cleaning schedule like? Anyone else forgets about keeping them clean?



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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Tool I Use To Build Good Habits And Remember To Wear Perfume: HabitRPG




   I wanted to tell you about a really fun tool that has helped me tremendously in the self-development department. I have been using it since a couple of months, and so far I regularly do oil-pulling and drink water Kefir every morning, floss and do a mini-clean of the home every night, have gotten much more punctual, put away clean laundry on the same day, and remember to facercise and wear perfume pretty often.

  The tool I used for this is Habitrpg which is a website and Android/ iOs app which lets you gamify your life. In short, you keep your avatar alive and battle monsters by ticking off to-dos and completing your daily tasks. The app is really simple and at the same time really customisable, and above all it's addictive and fun. 
    HabitRPG works really well if you need instant gratification to be good: this app gives you gold to buy in-game rewards for your avatar (weapons! snowballs! potions!), or real-life rewards for you (my current exchange rate is 10 gold pieces = 30 mins fun activity or 1€ for fun shopping). You also get mana, pets. You also see streaks of your habits, you can see how many days in a row you have managed to complete a certain daily and track your progress with a nifty graph.
   Things are more fun with friends and in Habitrpg you can join a part of other HabitRPG users with whom you go on quests. Knowing that my team member might end up dead if I get too lazy keeps me accountable!

   I love how HabitRPG divides things that have to be done into dailies, habits and tasks. This was an "aha" moment for me and I now always divide my stuff into these categories. Dailies are things that have to be done everyday. Habits are things that you want to do more often, but not necessarily each and every day. To-dos are one-time tasks.

  As dailies and habits become automatic and effortless over the weeks, I tweak them and slowly add a new thing that I'd like to work on. It's really gratifying!



My tips for HabitRPG:

   If you are just starting out, you might find these tips useful:

* Start with just one or two dailies and slowly build up more. If you aren't managing to tick-off most dailies on most days, temporarily degrade the less-important dailies to habits.
* Dailies can be greyed for several purposes, which is an extremely useful hack.
* Dailies, habits and todos marked as "difficult" bring you more points. Use that option to set priorities -- not only hard and time-taking tasks should be marked "difficult" but also anything that is urgent or is important in the bigger scheme of things.
* Give yourself a day off if you are sick, or doing something awesome. To do that, check into the inn for the day and you will not lose points for not checking off dailies. And, more importantly, you deserve a guilt-free day off.
* Put a fun / self-care thing on your dailies. It's important!
* Define your tasks clearly. For eg. "30 minutes biking" is concrete, "take the bike" is vague. If you bike for an hour, you can click the habit twice.
* To unclutter a too long list, combine habits. I put in "15 minutes uncluttering a space / repairing / mending" as one habit.
* If you tend to stay up later than midnight (that is the default time when HabitRPG resets for the next day), adjust your chron to the time you usually go to bed.
* The Habitrpg Wikia has well-written explanations and tutorials!

   Would you try HabitRPG or do you use it already? Do you have other methods of developing good habits and keeping yourself accountable? Do share!



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