REACHING FOR A MINIMALIST LIFESTYLE – CAN IT BE DONE?

Minimalism! I need to get my thoughts out. I’ve been battling with this for a few years now. Yes, years! I can’t grasp the minimalist lifestyle in my own life. But I’m a minimalist enthusiast to the bone. I want it, and perhaps speaking it to existence is what I need!

“Minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from overwhelm. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from depression. Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around. Real freedom.” Theminimalists.com

Wait, what!?! Is it just me or does that sound like where we should all be? I want freedom! I want real freedom. And it’s not easy. I mean, the concept of being free; a piece of cake right? No, it’s not a piece of cake. It’s scary at first. It’s work. It’s consistency. It’s a lifestyle. And one day I want to get there.

My interest in living a minimal life started when I moved into my current apartment. I developed a somewhat obsessive need to keep everything in order. This is different from minimalism when you think about it. It’s a need for control. Every dish matches and belongs in a specific place. Pillows are fluffed to perfection. The bedding has to be white. The bathroom towels are not for my “use”. Saying this out loud even to myself makes me think I’m crazy lol. I’m not crazy, I’m particular lol. ANYWAY enough about my need for order! Have you ever desired to live with less material possessions? That’s where I am. I give too much meaning to “things”. If I could have less “things”, I could give more meaning to people, relationships and my health! Doesn’t that sound like a life you would want to live? To live a life that is driven by purpose? Then why is it so hard to let go of items that mean nothing in the grand scheme of things? I struggle with this. Not the concept, but how to apply it to my own life.

I started my career in fashion. Right after college I was a merchandising assistant in the buying office at Saks Fifth Avenue. I was exposed to luxury designer merchandise; the ins and outs of fashion. A real eye opener for me although I’ve always had a love for fashion prior to my first real job. I remember getting a Saks credit card as an employee and thinking LIFE COULDN’T HAPPEN WITHOUT BUYING EVERYTHING! What it has left me with, 12 years later, is possession of the most amazing, beautiful, luxury meaningless merchandise that I don’t use and can’t let go of. It’s also left me with working really hard every day, and getting paid to buy more; more “things”. That’s just one piece of the puzzle; having a ton of “stuff”. There is so much more that we consume excess of. But my main point is to say, my dream is to have less, to make more room, not for more meaningless “things” but for more experience, love, growth, travel, etc. Ridding myself of the clutter, I believe will help me consume more of those meaningful truths. It may take another 12 years before this becomes my reality. Yet I’m hopeful and I’m keeping educated on the process of clearing my home and my mind of clutter and inviting freedom in.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. How much meaning do you give to “things”?

xo IKA

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UPDATED NIGHTTIME SKINCARE ROUTINE

It’s true. I normally like to try different products and routines for my skin. I get too fascinated by new things and I love to explore. But I’ve been thinking; maybe the best thing for my skin, specifically my face and neck, is to simplify and be consistent. For the past couple of months I’ve tried to lessen the product usage at night and make it a simple yet strong routine without change. I think it’s been working and I want to share the love.

1. CLEANSE: Did you think I was going to mention something complicated? Of course we must cleanse! But there’s an order. Take the cleanser of choice (At the moment I’m consistently using Cetaphil which is gentle yet effective). Wash your face with warm water. Not hot, but warm enough. Warm water opens up your pores and allows you to get all of the dirt and grime out. So many environmental factors find their way to our skin on a daily basis. It’s important to remove it all thoroughly.

2. RINSE: This is my favorite part. For me it’s such an important step and I think it gets missed in many people’s regime. Every evening after cleansing, I rinse my face and neck with cold water. What the cold water does is close the pores and it creates this “firmness” that is oh so good! I honestly feel like I’m doing wonders for my skin when I rinse.

3. MOISTURIZE WITH NATURAL OIL: Yea I said it, OIL! I’ll give you three oils to choose from. Argan, Almond, or Jojoba. Those are my top three but please do your research and choose what’s right for you. We’re not just rubbing oil on our face. We’re moisturizing with love. Smooth your oil of choice in upward circular motions. In my opinion I’m fighting gravity by using this technique.

OPTIONAL YET EFFECTIVE ADDITIONAL STEPS:
1. FACE MAKEUP AND EYE MAKEUP REMOVAL: So we all do it right? Remove makeup with a makeup wipe. This is a totally optional step. It really depends on the amount of makeup/coverage you use daily. It varies for me but a pack of wipes needs to be in the bathroom at all times. For the eye: Smokey eye, winged liner, heavy mascara wearers beware! If you’re in one of the mentioned categories, do yourself a favor and get those lids clean.

2. EXFOLIATE: Exfoliating is great! Every now and then you need to give the face and neck a scrub. It doesn’t have to be every day; you can aim for once a week. If you’d like to include it as a daily routine, there are exfoliators and scrubs out there that are gentle enough for every day use.

3. CLAY AND SHEET MASKS: I LOVE MASKSSSSSSSSSSS! The only reason I didn’t put it on the above list is because it’s not a daily step for me. I usually tap into a good mask before an event, date, or when my skin is feeling thirsty. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE.

So there you have it. Super easy. Super effective. Super clean. Your skin will thank you and so will I. Remember, be consistent and be patient. Figure out what cleanser and what oil is right for you. Everyone’s skin behaves differently and it’s your responsibility to learn what’s best for your type and treat yourself with care.

xo IKA

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OCTOBER 2016 OBSESSION

Time flies when you’re having fun. October zoomed past us in a flash. I did have an obsession, of course! How do you feel about a signature fall lip color? I decided to make one key lip color carry me into the winter. Pigment so good that I can’t get enough!

Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in the shade Consuming Red is pigmented perfectly. I’m obsessed! Red is such a sexy color, but Consuming Red gives just enough pop of color without over doing it. It lasts all day too! Win all around. Hey, red might not be your thing, but this special lippie comes in 20 shades! Just go ahead and try them all! And…..you’re welcome!

xo IKA

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CREATE AN EVERYDAY GLOW

One of the most flattering things to hear as a woman is, “You’re glowing!” There can be many reasons, right? You’re in love; landed a new job; or you’re just filled with overall happiness! Does this mean you can’t glow if none of these things are taking place? NO! For me, it’s about using every woman’s makeup must-have; the perfect BRONZER!

No need to fret when it comes to this tool. Bronzer was created to give off an illusion like you’re sun-kissed and you’ve just come off of the beach. It does! There’s a bit of shimmer and it gives off a warmness in pigment that a lot of people don’t naturally have; especially in the colder months. But let’s be honest. If you’re not careful, you’ll overdo it and look like you have a horrible fake spray tan; NOT CUTE! Here’s a guide for an everyday glow that applies bronzer to the right places so that all year round, you look like you’re living in a beach house!

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This is what you have to keep in mind. Think of the spots where the sun naturally hits your face or your “high points”. Here are 4 points you’ll need to remember when applying your favorite bronzer:

-Top of the Forehead
-Cheekbones
-Bridge of the nose
-Chin

The first step is to choose the bronzer that is right for you. This is all a matter of preference. How soft, deep or shimmery is all up to you. Once you know what’s right for you and you’ve mastered your everyday makeup, it’s time to take it up a notch and add a little flame. The key is to use a great brush! Something that applies your bronzer with light strokes. This way you can build up the level of tan you want without doing too much. A great brush for bronzer application is Sephora’s Pro Flawless Bronzer Brush. Give your brush a dab in your bronzer and apply even strokes to the top of your forehead, cheekbones, bridge of the nose, and chin. On the cheeks, blend in an upward motion which gives the high cheekbone illusion. And on the chin, sweep out towards the jawline. Boom! Done! Now you look like you were laying in St. Tropez and totally sun kissed!

Here are two of my favorite bronzers:
NYX Matte Bronzer
Too Faced Endless Summer Bronzer

The NYX Matte Bronzer comes in multiple shades, you have options! I love it because it keeps my look simple and fresh. The Too Faced Endless Summer Bronzer goes a little deeper and really accentuates those 4 points we talked about. Go Glow!

I do have an obsession with this shimmery goodness. It doesn’t mean without it isn’t beautiful! I love it all! This is just a way to tweak your makeup from time to time if you choose to. If not bronzer, what are some ways that you take your makeup to a new level without giving too much, too fast? Maybe it’s a subtle highlight or maybe it’s contouring. No matter which way you do it, walking out the door with confidence is the ultimate ingredient to that glow!

xo IKA

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