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January 21, 2017 | Diary of a Blogger

The weather has been absolutely beautiful lately. January is usually the coldest, darkest, and most depressing month of the year, but that hasn't been the case the past few days - yippee! I've missed walks in the woods so we decided to take one today and I brought the camera along because practice, practice, practice. Here are a few photos from today's adventure. 

Jasmine Clementine Bath Salts: Review

Another product review, yay!! So, I want to start off the review with a little background story of how this review came about. On Instagram, I discovered a botanical gift store located near me that I didn't even know existed! Their Instagram feed was filled with beautiful photos of plants, decor, and gifty knick-knacks galore. Of course, I'm a big supporter of small businesses and anything earthy and quirky, so I wanted to just check this place out. Well, needless to say, I picked up this small jar of bath salts. Biggest reason? There are flower petals mixed in with the salt, and anytime there are dried flower petals or anything of the sort included, I am ALL about it. Also, because bubble baths make me happy. So here we are today, talking about the Jasmine and Clementine Bath Salts by Benjamin Soap Co.

Ingredients are listed right smack dab on the front of the jar, and everything looks good. I checked out the companies website, where they stated that they always test on people, never animals. One point for Benjamin Soap Co. Hand poured ingredients, and sourced locally when available. Zero GMO's, artificial colors, and artificial ingredients. Ten points for Benjamin Soap Co. You can check out their website by clicking here if you want to read more.  It's also important that I should mention: No, I was not reached out to by the company to talk about their products. I had a genuine interest and everything I say is coming from me and my true opinion. I love sharing and supporting small brands, and whenever I find one that grabs my interest, I want to show them some love on my blog! The bath salt costed $15 which is a decent price; supporting smaller brands sometimes means paying a little extra. But then again, you are buying a quality product. You get what you pay for and so on. There really isn't too much else to say except that my bath was lovely once I poured some of this in. It smelled great and the flowers were a nice touch. It's just fun to take a bath and add flower petals, ok? It really doesn't take that much per bath so I imagine this will last me a good while. I do recommend anyone interested in natural body products to check out Benjamin Soap Co. Even if you aren't really concerned about "natural" products, still check them out. Maybe you'll change your mind. As for this jar of bath salts, I would recommend it to anyone really. Anyone who enjoys taking relaxing, aromatherapeutic baths. 


I also wanted to back myself up on the whole minimalism thing real quick. Some of you may be thinking, "Ok. If you're a minimalist, why are you buying stuff like this?" And that's totally understandable. The thing is, I don't buy stuff like this often, and when I do, I like to support small companies and then if it turns out to be a really good product, I'll share it with you. Sure, I don't "need" it and it's not essential to my everyday lifestyle. But it's ok to treat yourself once in awhile, especially if you put intention behind it. And sure, I don't really "need" to be justifying myself here on this matter, but there is a lot of criticism when it comes to the minimalist topic on the internet and I do want to remain credible with my minimalism journey, SO I'm ok with explaining myself with these sort of things :-) Don't forget you can send in blog post requests if there is anything you'd like to see from me in the future! Just click here to give me your input! Also, if you'd like to subscribe to my brand new YouTube channel, click here!

One Year With Minimalism: A Journey

It was around one year ago that I discovered the minimalism movement. Before that point, I had clutter throughout my home in various places and I didn't even realize it. There was so much distraction and I was completely unaware of it all. I was going out and purchasing things I didn't need. I was holding onto things that no longer served a purpose in my life anymore. I was keeping clothes and shoes I didn't wear because I thought I would in the future. I kept nail polish I hadn't used in months and makeup I rarely wore. I held onto decorations that no longer fit my style incase it would again someday. (I guess I should note that the amount of clutter I had probably wasn't really all that much, considering I've been living on my own for only 3 years, but it was enough to drive me up the wall once I realized it was there.) How did I realize it was all there? It started out with a video I came across on YouTube that really caught my attention. I watched the video and the whole idea kind of stuck with me for a few days after that. I soon began searching for more videos and articles. I also picked up a book at Barnes and Noble called, "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up" by Marie Kondo, an in-depth "how-to"for decluttering. And so it began. I slowly started to declutter my space, room by room. I started off with my closet space. Over the course of the entire year, it took me about 6 "clean outs" and 6 trips to the thrift stores. This wasn't an overnight process. I moved on to the bathroom, removing anything expired, without purpose, and unused. After that, I took on the kitchen cabinets and so forth. I eventually made my way to the storage area, where I made it a goal to eliminate as much "storage stuff" as possible. I went from having 5+ boxes to 2. One for Christmas d├ęcor and one for miscellaneous items that are worth keeping but don't have a specific place. I have absolutely nothing in my basement except for my washer and dryer - just how I wanted it to be.

Why did I do this, though? Well for one, unorganized mess brings me unnecessary stress and anxiety. I like to know exactly what I do and don't own, and I like to know where exactly I can find it at any given time. To have boxes upon boxes just sitting in storage, it just adds weight. Another reason is the fact that I'll be moving across the country in a little over a year - 2,000 miles to be more exact. The thought of packing everything up and moving it that distance is a little overwhelming, and the less there is to pack and transport, the easier it will be. I didn't want to leave it to last minute, so I started early and shifted my lifestyle along with it. I started buying less. Impulsion out, intention in. Keep in mind, minimalism not about throwing everything out, and replacing it with new. Minimalism is about removing anything that no longer serves a purpose or brings happiness, and keeping it out. Being more with less.

Sure, I'm not a perfect minimalist. But that's ok. There are no rules or guidelines. That's the beauty of it: it's designed to fit your lifestyle in whatever way you need it to be. I have a few extra things hanging in my closet that I don't wear as often, but I absolutely love them. They make me happy. It took me an entire year to get to where I am, and I'm not even finished.  I still find myself letting go of items I previously held onto because of the what ifs and just in case scenarios I played out in my head. It's all good, though. See, minimalism isn't the destination. It's not my goal to be a minimalist, per se. Simplicity and liberation is the goal. The freedom to get up and travel or move in an instant is the goal. Not being held back or tied down due to material things is the goal. I really hope I've inspired at least a few of you in the past year to live more minimally and I look forward to another year of it! Don't forget, if you'd like to send in private feedback or blog post requests, you can now do so by going to my request page (clicking here) !

E X C I T I N G!  N E W S!!
I also wanted to mention that... drumroll... I have created a YouTube channel!!! I can't say for sure when I'll start uploading vides - the goal is for the beginning of this year, but there is no definite date yet. The channel will be similar to my blog and will be based on minimalism, travel, photography, following dreams, freelancing, and lifestyle advice + tips. I also plan to mix in a few vlogs here and there from my travels. I've always wanted to create a channel and inspire people. Four years ago, when I first started watching YouTube a lot more, I wanted to create one. Now that The Ivory Fawn has been up and running for over a year, I think it's time to take on a new challenge and adventure. It's no secret that blogging a really hard work, especially if you're trying to inspire and reach a large number of people. Don't worry, I'll still maintain this blog with my normal schedule. If you'd like to subscribe to The Ivory Fawn YOUTUBE CHANNEL, click here! I'll also keep a link on the side of this blog to the channel. Here's to a new adventure!

Minimalism | Decluttering Your Beauty Products+Routine

When I did my first initial declutter throughout my home, I went from section to section. I started with my wardrobe and moved on to my beauty products in the bathroom cabinet next. I was actually really excited to go through everything because I had so much of it and it was a miserable mess. Makeup, hair products, skin products, lotions, you name it. The end goal was to have an organized and clean space, and only own what I used daily or absolutely loved. It's important to figure out why you want to declutter and clean out your beauty products in the first place. Maybe it's piled way up over time and now you have a rather obnoxiously large collection, or maybe you're trying to switch to an animal cruelty free beauty routine. Whatever the case may be, it's a good thing to do and you'll be glad you did it.

Expiration dates +  ingredients
The first thing you should consider when sorting through your collection is expiration dates the second thing you should consider are the ingredients. Makeup can grow bacteria over time and really shouldn't be kept past the expiration date. When makeup expires, the molecules of it can break down into something else and a skin reaction is possible. If you're looking to cut out certain ingredients from your beauty routine, it can be easier to toss out certain products containing those harsh and toxic chemicals. *cough* parabens, petrolatum, etc. *cough* Unfortunately, the beauty industry isn't very well monitored and there are a lot of chemicals that aren't banned. This is something to be extremely mindful about as our skin is our largest organ and when we apply something, it is absorbed into our bodies.

Consider what you use daily
Once you've eliminated everything that's outdated, find the most commonly used products and set those aside into a new *keep* pile; there's a good chance you will continue to use those until they run out. If there is anything you rarely ever use, say a bright pink lipstick or eye shadow, toss it out. You probably won't use it again and hanging on to it will only be pointless. I keep two small makeup bags in my cabinet: one for the minimal makeup I use daily, and a second one for the makeup I don't wear every day but I still like and use it enough to keep.

Use up what's left
When I was going through my stuff, I was a little hesitant to throw anything out that no longer suited me because I couldn't help but feel like it would be wasteful and I'd be practically throwing money away. If you have three different foundations and two mascaras, use everything up before you repurchase again. It's fun to try new things once in awhile and it's a wonderful feeling when you discover a new product that fits your every need. However, you may have something similar at homes so finish what you have and then purchase the new product.

A little goes a long way
There's this misconception that the more products you use, the better you skin will become. Brands coming out with numerous cleansers and scrubs, telling you that you need A, B, and C for the perfect glowing skin you dream of having. Wrong. Paring down your beauty routine into something easier to stick with for the long run will make for a healthier complexion. Focus your routine on easy steps, wash with a gentle cleanser, use a moisturizer is necessary, and go with feels right for you. Keep an eye on your portions - using less at a time will result in longer lasting products... saving money, buying less, you get the idea.

Choose natural products + simple packaging
The thing with natural products with good ingredients is that they don't last even half as long as conventional beauty products. They don't contain all the toxic preservatives and such. By choosing more natural products, you can own less and actually finish them rather than owning 20 different products that you've been holding onto for a long time. By choosing simple packaging, you can reduce your carbon footprint even just slightly.

With all that said, I hope I've given you some helpful tips to get a good start going. Give yourself the chance to reconsider everything sitting in the closet. Are there any unnecessary steps that slow you down in the morning? We all want to reduce our carbon footprint and let go of things that no longer serve us. I also wanted to quick mention that I have a created a request page! A place where you can go to send in requests for anything you'd like to see on the blog. While this blog is for me as a hobby and creative outlet, it's more so for you. It's yours to read and be inspired by, and I want to know what you guys want next! I will be linking the request page at the end of every blog post from here on out. Click here to head over and send in your input, otherwise, go to www.theivoryfawnblog.tumblr.com. I look forward to hearing from you! xx

DIY: Lavender Makeup Setting Spray

I recently had a request from a lovely friend and viewer to create and document a DIY makeup setting spray and I thought it would make a great DIY for The Ivory Fawn. With our busy lifestyles, it's hard to find the time for constant touch ups - plus, who wants to worry about that all day long anyway? And while there are plenty of setting sprays out there available to buy, it's hard to say which ones do and don't contain  hidden harsh chemicals and preservatives. This DIY setting spray is great because while all of the ingredients are completely safe to put on our skin, it's also hydrating and nourishing for the skin. Don't wear makeup? You can still use this spray as a refreshing tonic or midday refresher.

What you need:
1 tbsp. Aloe Vera
1 tbsp. Witch Hazel
5 drops lavender essential oil
2 1/2 tbsp. purified water
Spray bottle

Start off by placing the Aloe Vera gel into a small dish or jar. Next, add the Witch Hazel and blend. Add the lavender essential oil and water and mix everything all together. Lastly, pour solution into your spray bottle (a small funnel may come in handy), and shake well. Your makeup setting spray is complete! When you go to use it once you've applied your makeup for the day, hold the bottle a few inches away from your face, mist with one or two pumps, and allow to air dry.

As I mentioned above, the ingredients in the spray completely safe and natural to use. Aloe Vera is well known for many skin remedies such as fight acne, reducing inflammations, and relieving sunburns. Witch Hazel is great as it's a natural astringent, removing toxins and ultimately killing bacteria that may be hiding within the skin. It's also been thought to help prevent skin cancer and provide anti-aging benefits. If you've been following me for awhile now, you'll know how much I rave about lavender essential oil. Commonly known for reducing stress and anxiety, maximizing relaxation and a sense of peace, it also aids in restoring complexion and preventing acne. As far as the purified water goes, it's better to use that over tap because tap water can contain bacteria buildup and other chemicals. Please let me know if you try this DIY and how well you like it! 

Protect Your Winter Skin

When winter comes around, my skin takes a hit and I think most people can relate. Don't get me wrong, I love winter, but my lips are always chapped, skin is always dry, and my hair is usually a static mess. Here are a few tips to combat the winter's dry air and save your skin some winter blues.

During the colder season, you might want to sip on hot coffee or cocoa, but it's important to stay hydrated. Make sure you drink the suggest eight glasses of water a day because what happens on the inside also affects the outside, so not only will your body be hydrated but it will hydrate your skin as well.

It's natural instinct to bundle up, but don't just pule on layers. Start with socks and end with a hat, and don't forget about anything in between. Wear gloves if you live in a colder and snowy climate and wear a scarf around your neck to protect your neck and any of your chest that isn't covered by your coat. Staying covered up will not only keep you warm, but also avoid the cold air from stinging your skin.

Keep a good hand lotion and lip balm with you at all times. Your hands are used the most throughout the day, yet it's still easy to forget that they need the most care. Use a heavy moisturizing cream in the morning and evening, and apply some after you wash your hands to prevent drying out from the water and hand soap. I like to dab a little bit of Vaseline on my knuckles once in a while as it helps a lot. Before bed, I like to put some lotion on my feet and throw on some fuzzy warm socks. Winter is when my lips become most chapped, so I like to apply lip balm every night before bed, and then I also keep some with me throughout the day. My favorite go-to is the Burt's Beeswax in mint. If you're going out in extremely low temperatures, you can apply a layer or Vaseline on top of your lip balm to keep the cold off your lips even more.

Wash your hair less
Shampooing your hair actually strips your hair of its natural oils that keep your scalp healthy and moisturized. I feel as though when I wash my hair daily, it becomes more dry and breakable. Over the winter season, hair dries out already from the colder temps. During these months, either consider changing to a shampoo that will provide more moisture than what you normally use, or wash your hair less.

Humidifiers can be a little spendy, but they can be so worth it. To keep the dry air out of your home, turn on a humidifier and let it do it's work. Leave it on while you sleep to wake up with happier skin and clear eyes.

Inspiration & Creativity: Lost And Found

Every creative and artist out there has experienced, at least once in his or her  life, a creative/inspiration slump. It unwelcomingly rolls in like dense fog, casting a thick, heavy blanket over your brain. Thoughts and ideas come to a screeching halt, refusing to move forward. Visions and feelings become clouded. Pinched writing and forced actions take place, typically leaving you unsatisfied. Doubts pour in and you don't know how to improve. These things happen -sometimes often- and they're not good. However, life doesn't just stop along with your inspiration. There are blog posts to be written, images to be captured, and other artwork to be created. Many freelance artists live solely off the income from their work so they must continue on even if they aren't feeling that spark, and so it goes. While pushing through is the main key ingredient to finding that inspiration again, there are other things that can be done to help the process. Suddenly you find yourself standing in the aisles of admirable but infrequently visited supply stores, staring at the rows of brushes, watercolor palettes, and other neatly organized art tools. Maybe you're scrolling through Tumblr and Flickr, searching for photo sets to spark your own inspiration. Here are some tips that may hopefully help you the next you experience a creative slump:

Save what inspires you
I like to keep little inspiration archives all over the place. Pinterest is a great tool for cataloging your inspiration online; I have a hidden board with things filled with things that spark ultimate joy and bring copious amounts of inspiration. But while Pinterest is awesome-sauce, don't forget to do some of the same thing in the real world as well. Store some books and magazines and on a shelf that fill you up with ideas. Keep a folder with magazine cut outs. Display artwork. When you have moments of creative frustration, go back and look through these things and let them fill you back up.

Write, write, write
Putting pen to paper is one of the best ways to get the creative juices flowing. Let it flow as it comes, raw and unedited. It will provide a great starting point for whatever you're doing. Even when you think you have nothing to say, just start by writing about the days occurrences, detailing in the feelings and other senses. Don't worry about grammar. Let it be messy, and just write. It will most likely turn into something more idea/emotion driven.

Talk it out
If you have friends in your creative circle, talk to them about your slump. Tell them how your feeling and the overall effects. Sometimes you get so stuck in your own mind that you don't even see the obvious alternatives out there. Sometimes talking to a friend, or even just someone you admire in  creative aspect can help shine light on a different perspective and open a whole new door for experimentation. If you don't have a mentor or friend to talk to, trying meeting someone! Join a class, travel, maybe even try reaching out to someone online. Talking to others will spur new ideas and all it takes is that tiny whisper to get the brain going again.

Truthfully, my inspiration has many times left me, wandered off into some unknown dusty corner, and got real cozy, leaving me to coax it back out again. I've run out of things to write about and I've run out ideas and visions for my photography. Take note of things that inspire you creatively and intertwine those things into your daily lifestyle. Maybe it's listening to music, reading books, or taking walks though the forest. Creativity is just like a muscle - it can be built, worked up, and flexed. But when you allow it to soften, it's not as easily regained unfortunately. Lack of inspiration can really rain on your creative parade, and really the only thing that can be done is to just push through. You can play the blame game for awhile: the weather, the season, your lack of energy - but then seek a solution. Remind yourself why you started in the first place. Write through your slump and be sloppy. Also, let it be known that creativity blocks can often times push you somewhere new. That momentary frustration you feel is often what propels you forward. Allow yourself the idea that eventually the wall will break, the fog will lift, and you'll be back on track.
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