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H E L L O ! My name is Naomi Shiek (pronounced CHIC).
I've been very fortunate to have my own small independent atelier called Woodland Papercuts. This is my private blog exploring my favorite things in beauty & design.

L E T S__B E__F R I E N D S !
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Friday, 6 October 2017

fashion | Does the capsule work?

2016 was all about the Capsule Wardrobe. At least for fashion & lifestyle bloggers, it seemed. Nearly every blog I read jumped on that train... and by the end of the year most fell off it.
So, does the capsule wardrobe work? It did for me!
... Until I forgot that's why I had so little clothes (read: just enough to cycle through every week) and went and bought (so, so many) new clothes!
Why did I do it? Frankly, the capsule wardrobe was a good excuse to getting rid of nearly all my clothes after I gained curves. In my mind I told myself "I'm not just throwing away my clothes because they don't fit, I'm downsizing because it's the responsible, adult thing to do." See, a positive spin!

My trouble was that like with all trends, I promptly forgot about it. See, for the first three months it worked. I enjoyed overlapping my outfits with the same 10 items. It was a no-fuss system.

Then I realized that I only have two jeans to wear when I leave the house (the rest were pajama pants or gym leggings), they weren't all that comfortable or frankly flattering, and wearing the same clothes all the time was getting boring. It actually wasn't until I read Shoeper Woman's end of year post that mentioned her journey with the capsule wardrobe that I even remembered that's how I started my year. I flaked!

What I can say is that the Capsule Wardrobe helped me 
learn what I'm looking for from my wardrobe & what my true style is 

My journey back to a full wardrobe started with my quest for pants. Actual non-jeans pants, i.e. trousers. Which I never wore in my whole adult life! I always associated trousers with business attire and thought when I'll be an adult with a job, that's when I'll buy them. And time just never felt right. Until it did, this year.

That's also how I found these pin-up style reproduction clothing shops - my saviors! Oh, where have you been all my life? Love you! - and threw myself down that deep, deep rabbit hole. Seriously, my savings have taken a beating. But look at me in this GIF to the left! I love it! So here they are (and if you're wondering why these aren't photos of me wearing them, I apologize - I'm much too lazy to attempt it. Annoying, I know):
From left to right. I bought all my trousers from TOP VINTAGE so I'll be linking them below together with the brand's original page where applicable. 

DANCING DAYS BY BANNED STAY AWHILE TROUSERS & HELL BUNNY NELLY BLY SAILOR TROUSERS | I think almost everyone who first gets into retro clothing starts with a theme. The most popular is sailor, because well... It's so cute, why not?! and I am no different. I have tops to match for a whole outfit, I admit:)

DANCING DAYS BY BANNED PARTY ON CLASSY TROUSERS | These are my most comfortable pair, the ones I can wear without pulling even when I've put on a few pounds. I'm wearing them in the top image here - See, they're so comfortable I'm laughing! 

MISS CANDYFLOSS MELISSA TROUSERS | After experiencing the quality of Miss Candyfloss's Gigi jumpsuit (post in the works) I jumped on the chance to try on one of their trousers. I have to admit, I wear these the least. Whether it is because the fit is slightly too big or because I prefer navy blue, or because out of all my trousers these have the thickest fabric, I can't decide. They are good quality, and I like how they cleverly hid the button and zipper for a clean look - but the fact is I do not wear them much. (Top Vintage page)

VOODOO VIXEN SHELLEY SUSPENDERS PALAZZO TROUSERS | These came in my latest purchase from Top Vintage and I haven't worm them yet. I tried them on and gasped - because I LOVE high waist and who can say no to the maxi skirt look - but the top button came off in my hand.  I much prefer to complain about it than take out my sewing kit! For now the pants are hanging on my clothes ladder waiting for their day. It's on my to-do list, honest. (Top Vintage page)

Monday, 2 October 2017

BUSINESS UPDATE | Where To From Here?

A few weeks ago Emily Hendreson, an interior designer & stylist I've been following for years, announced amidst much activity on her blog and social media that hey! she was changing her business from a home designer for hire to a an editorial designer (that's my description for it; for her own much more accurate description read announcement here). That threw me for a loop. I was still swaying - I admit I don't much like changes, even ones that have no effect on me - from Orlando's news of personal and professional upheaval (yes, I am on a first name basis with a complete stranger!), and I had recently got back to watching Flipping Out and following Jeff's business transformation - so I have metamorphosis on my mind. Namely, mine. With all these organic, take charge decisions other creatives are making - shouldn't I start looking at my own business?

This might be an ill-conceived overshare, but between 2014 and 2015 I had awesome business growth (nearly %62) but between 2015 and 2016 I earned less (an %8 drop). This is worrying for a business starting out. What happened? What did I do wrong? Is it because new vendors offering similar services have cropped up? Am I not different / special enough? Are my products not good enough to stand the test of time?! - So many questions big and small, and all falling on my shoulders. What Can I do to Change This? The projected earnings for this year seem to indicate a rise so 2016 will be just a dip - but I don't like that dip and I don't know what I did wrong to cause/facilitate it. Earning the same as years past is respectable - but a young business should rise in sales, not stagnant.
I have to admit I am struggling in my decision making, when I take the time to think about how much WOODLAND PAPERCUTS has grown and where I'd like to take it. The studio grew organically without much business input from me. I just put my head down and cut. But now it's been a few years and I realize this is a real business, my only source of income, and I should treat it as such - protect and cultivate it. That's when I get stumped. I mean, I'm much more a follower than a leader, and I don't know how and where and again how I should start. What should change? How should it change?

I read other #girlbosses talking about changing their businesses, taking them in bigger, better, other directions than they initially thought they would be years ago. Myself, I never conceptualized, set a goal, or prophesied anyting for the studio when I started - except to be financially secure. Had no business plan except Draw > Cut > Ship. Had no business philosophy except Be Kind. Be Patient. Be Informative. They stood me well so far, but I realize I need to consider all the foundations now, before my sales go backwards.
A branding & consulting studio I've been following for years now is AEOLIDIA. Besides the difficult name, the founder is a genius (in italics, that's how much). Like Emily and Orlando, Aeolidia's founder and director Arianne comes across as very open, honest, friendly, relatable, and smart. Everything I wish I could be in my own online persona. I've been reading her newsletter and periodically browsing her portfolio for insights - and there are plenty! If you're in a creative business rut of any kind I urge you to take a look, read the blog, join the facebook group, the lot.

What I seem to lack in general is motivation. I much prefer to pay someone else to dedicate the time -and mainly, brain power- needed to think of and implement all these changes that surely need to happen. I know I need to make changes, I just don't want to be the one doing them. There are so many resources and advice on Aeolidia that it's almost overwhelming to me, but I'm going to try. The ideas and steps Arianne lays out in her blog and workbooks are so simple, it feels easy instead of a monumental effort to begin.

Aeolidia is out of my price range for now, so I'm going to take in all the wisdom she shares freely and not only spend days posing questions and answers to myself - but actually get off my butt and implement my ideas! WHO'S WITH ME?

Friday, 29 September 2017

makeup | Setting Spray - is it a must?

Let's not keep you in suspense: the answer is a resounding YES!

I went to Tel Aviv for a paper-run (want to find out more about my work? See here) and for some stupid reason thought I should try it without a setting spray. Why not, right? My base makeup might disappear a little, but it would only make my skin show through and my makeup look more natural. Right? Wrong!

My face looked like melted cream, thick and separated. So embarrassing! I had to keep walking around like that because taking the makeup off would have looked worse. The next day my makeup looked fabulous, fresh and like second skin! The only difference: my Skindinavia spray!

I don't know why I thought I should gamble with my face on the one day in months I'll be leaving this dinky nowhereland to a real city (with shops and people and everything!) but I did, and the results were shocking.

Take it from me, because I learned it the hard way, living in a hot country 
always finish your makeup application with a strong setting spray. 

My favorite is Skindinavia's Bridal Makeup Finishing Spray. They also have Classic and Oil-Control versions, as well as primer and post-makeup recovery sprays.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

My recent skincare routine

A quick note: I have acne-prone, sensitive, combination skin. 
Often dehydrated, my face is swathed in redness, and I have Rudolph's red nose.

In the two years since I started regularly using skincare products, I tried many and found a stable of products I love to use again and again. As a result, I have a skincare routine! An honest routine I do my best never to skip out on, under threat of blemishes! And honestly, since I found these products my skin has calmed down and I only have a wayward blemish once in a blue moon - a world of difference from the suffering I experienced since childhood. I owe it all to the following products:
1. First and foremost I wash my face morning and evening. My favorite is Trilogy's Balancing Gel Cleanser, a great natural formula for combination skin, purifying without stripping. I LOVE it for winter. I read somewhere that you should alternate cleansers so your skin doesn't build resistance to them, so whenever I finish Trilogy's (usually takes 3 months) I move on to Murad's Time Release Acne Cleanser, which works great during the sweaty summer months especially. I use them both on repeat.

2. The STAR of my routine, and truly a life savior: Ole Henriksen's Invigorating Night Treatment. I've been using this for 2 years I think, ever since Stephanie Lange followed by My Pale Skin said this changed their skin. I thought if two beauty gurus from different sides of the planet can agree on this - I have to try! I bought it as part of the three little wonders set, and while I think the day serum and moisturizer it came with are nice, losing them from my routine proved the night serum made all the difference! No joke, this will transform acne-prone skin.

If you buy nothing else, 
get the Ole Henriksen Invigorating Night Treatment. 
You'll thank me. 

However, CAUTION: A handful of months ago Ole Henriksen went through a rebranding. They changed their packaging and the product's name (It's now called Invigorating Night Transformation Gel and comes in a blue, frosty-glass-looking bottle). Unfortunately they also reformulated many of their products - this one included. *Cue panic*

I can't find anywhere online that carries the new version (at least, that delivers to my country) so I can't personally compare if the reformulation is shittier/better/the same as the one I love so much. I can tell you that instead of Glycolic acid, Lactic acid, and Algae extract topping the ingredients list (which was dominated by many other acids, plant extracts and inflammation suppressors), in the new formula Glycolic acid is immediately followed by glycerin, then by the other ingredients (some familiar, some not) in a different order of concentration than the original. I don't like that there's less Lactic acid.

3. Most nights I follow the treatment serum with Peter Thomas Roth's Retinol Fusion PM Serum. I find that it clears out pores especially well, so when layered over the treatment serum I use this on my nose and cheeks only. There are nights I use this serum instead of Ole Henriksen, don't even follow it with a moisturizer, and let me tell you my skin in the morning is clean and plump! During winter it might be too harsh to use alone, but now that it's getting warmer I'm going to do this more often.  Note that when tested under the eyes it felt like the texture became worse, so don't.

4. This winter I've used the Antipodes Manuka Honey Skin-Brightening Light Day Cream as my last step hydration, night and day. I'm sold on anything with manuka honey because it's perfect for acne prone skin. It took me a while to get used to the (natural) scent, but I don't notice it anymore. The formulation is fabulous and clean. I find that I personally love oil-based moisturizers. It's a bit heavy going on, which is why I thought it worked great in winter and during the nighttime as well, but absorbs quickly and leaves skin light and smooth.

5. For under my eyes (and lately my lips) I use Trilogy's Rosehip Oil Antioxidant+. I don't like eye gels and didn't find a cream that works for me yet, but the oil is lightweight, hydrating, non-irritating, and I can use it at night and morning and under makeup! While I do have wrinkles and texture under my eyes, if I don't use the oil I find everything looks worse, so I know it works. I'm still looking for the product that will transform my undereye, but this oil is the best I found so far for that area.

I also use the oil on my whole face (night and morning) if I feel especially dry or just want to change it up a bit. While it won't inflame acne scars, I steer clear of blemishes for fear of reaction. The oil feels like a 'dry' oil, absorbs immediately into the skin and leaves a beautiful glow without any tackiness or residue. My face feels extremely smooth after using it.

I'd like to say I use the following items routinely, but frankly I mostly forget about them until a problem arises. These are my trusty sidekicks when I'm going to battle:
Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask | Meant to be applied twice a week, I use this when my skin feels tight and dry for instant softening. With many heavy hydrating creams the ingrdients will most-likely cause blemishes, but due to the high manuka honey content it not only prevents blemishes but even soothes them while hydrating my skin. I also left it on for bed a few times, and my skin felt great in the morning.

La Roche Posay Effeclar Duo+ | Meant to reduce skin redness and the appearance of imperfections, I can't say this prevents blemishes 100%. On some it works and on some it doesn't. Definitely most affective when the blemish is still a shadow or a sensation under the skin (you know the ones). But I do know that after it's all said and done this ointment does help the scarring fade away faster. When I feel I have bad skin days coming, or I need the added barrier between my skin and makeup, I put this all over.

Skyn Anti-Blemish Treatment Gel | When blemishes are coming up this gel saves the day. It prevented many bad skin days for me. But be forewarned, it cannot be used under makeup.

Lancome Pure Empreinte Masque | when I do get blemishes, cystic or topical, I use this cream. Applied directly to the blemish over night, it draws out all the impurities in triple-time and helps the area heal faster. Because it's drying, I only use it on the blemish itself.

Side tip: I use stickers to note the date I started using each product. 
I used to always worry that I'll be doing more harm than good if the product is expired. Now I no longer have to guess!  
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