I am on a mission - to simplify my life one area at a time. The Lord keeps pricking my heart with this theme, and last weekend did me in. He put me in a position where I was around other men and women, discussing this very issue... OUT LOUD. That's what does it for me.
Not to go into it too much, but I have felt convicted lately of how much we have been given and how much more of what we have can be used for God's glory. My time, our home, the influence we have in our community, the financial resources we've been loaned by God, the spiritual resources we have access to that others either don't have/know about, and the list goes on and on.
I have to start small and make realistic changes that I can sustain over time.
I chose to begin with two areas: products ('stuff') and time/influence. My goal in the area of products is to clean out what I already have, specifically my toiletries and makeup, and look for ways to save money as I need to replace items as they run out. (You know God is changing my heart because I am a Product Girl - I love trying new things and having lots of options! I am doing a 180 and heading towards cheap and simple without giving up effective.) My goal in the area of time/influence is to focus more of my time on others, in big and small ways. There are many times that I do things with the kids or on my own that doesn't serve anyone but myself or ourselves. And although I'm only 32, time is always running out. It's a limited resource! I was challenged recently to think about what my legacy will be, and that starts now with how I use the time we have been given. I want to extend myself more as opportunities present themselves, get to know more young mothers who don't have a relationship with God or know anything about what Jesus has done for us, and serve the poor as well as widows and orphans more. There isn't as clear of a way to go about this, but a few of my friends and I share the same desires and we have already brainstormed what this might look like. I know if we keep our hearts open, God will make it clear what He would have us do.
I decided to write about this on the blog because 1) I want to challenge you to the same things, if God is calling you, too! 2) I find there is accountability once I share something like this with others, and 3) I love sharing about what I am learning and keeping lists of my favorite things.
So I'm putting a twist on my 'favorite things' list as far as products go. I'll share my Keep It Simple list with you. I love the challenge of finding good products that are inexpensive, and I've already been encouraged to find that I can save so much money each month just by switching out a few of my everyday products. Plus, my goal is to be able to buy most of what I use from Target or our local grocery store / drug store. I hope that you will help me out as well - share with me what you use that you love, if it's inexpensive or very reasonably priced!
I will confess that I don't know if I can get here with my make up. It's sort of my indulgence area. Drug store mascara and lip balm is about as far as I get before I head to Ulta or Sephora or Nordstrom for the rest! I would LOVE LOVE LOVE help in this area, because to be able to move to cheaper make up would be great.
Baby steps, right!? :)
Keep It Simple - Summer 2012
I finally tried Dove's facial bar after reading for the 100th time that celebrities and dermatologists use it. It's awesome. I have sensitive, combination skin. I'm not exaggerating when I say that 90% of the face washes I have tried have actually GIVEN me skin problems like pimples b/c of too much oil in the product, or red/itchy skin b/c the cleanser dries my skin out. I also wear make up and some cleansers can't get it all off, especially eyeliner and mascara.
This little bar works miracles for a little over a dollar at Target. I'm replacing my Dr. Wexler cleanser with the Dove bar, and the difference in cost is $15.
I read in a magazine that this L'Oreal conditioner was what professional hair stylists use on celebrities. It seemed worth a try, and at under $6 I figured I could always throw it in my gym bag to use when I shower away from home if I didn't love it but needed to use it up.
Well it's staying in my shower at home because I love it. It works better than most of the other sulfate-free conditioners I bought at salons and is a fraction of the price. Go get it if you're looking for a new conditioner and you highlight or color your hair, even if you don't care about the $ savings!
I was so impressed by the conditioner that the next time I was out, I bought a shampoo by L'Oreal as well. I chose the most moisturizing one I could find that was also sulfate-free, and I hit the jackpot again! Even the best shampoos I used to use left my hair feeling stripped and dry. This shampoo rinses my hair clean but it also feels soft even before I condition it. It also costs less than $6.
A few other cheapies that are better, in my opinion, than their more expensive alternatives:
*Beach towels - the cheap ones are thinner. This is better because a) they're not as bulky to haul around or wash, and b) when it's hot out you don't really want a thick heavy towel, you just want to wipe extra moisture away or wrap it around you for a few minutes and then you're done. My favorite ones came from Wal-Mart and Target and were $10 or under.
*Hairspray - I love TRESemme hairspray. It holds well without being tacky or sticky, smells good, and costs around $4 for a big can.
*Baby Shampoo - Johnson and Johnson really does make the best tear-free baby shampoo, and at a good price. You can always find it at any store, it's one of the only soaps that truly doesn't sting my kids' eyes, and the smell is totally nostalgic. Works on my 4 year old as well as my 1 year old. I just spread the soap bubbles around once I lather up their hair and use it as their body wash as well.