All posts by AsianCajuns

What’s In Lar’s Downsized Purse

A couple of weeks ago I talked about downsizing my wallet. And, you guys, I did it! I’ve been using just this little turquoise wallet for the past month or so. I’ve never once been caught out needing any of the cards that I got rid of, and my purse is so much lighter than when I used to carry my ginormous wallet(s) around with me!

Because of my wallet success, I thought now is the time to downsize from my tote bag to a real purse-sized purse — you know, the kind that don’t give you back problems and leave you with those purse strap gouges on your shoulder.

I didn’t want to go out and buy a small purse (I don’t own one because in the past I never used ones that I bought — I’ve since KonMaried them), so I used this mini Le Pliage that I found at Salvation Army in Edinburgh for £3 — a steal and environmentally friendly.

The mini Le Pliage is still pretty roomy and not as small as I’d eventually like to carry (this is my dream bag in all its vegan leather glory). But I’m really chuffed that I’ve been able to swing a tiny (in comparison) bag on my arm instead of hefting my tote straps over my coat. I’ve been a successful small-ish purse carrier for nearly three weeks!

Hi, my name is Lar, and I no longer carry my life with me wherever I go! (I seriously feel like I should get a badge for that — no, scratch that. No room for a badge in my now compact-bag lifestyle).

If I can keep this up through the winter, I might allow myself to get that Mat and Nat bag for the spring.

And if you guys are interested, you can see what’s in my bag in the pics below. I keep trying to trim this down, but I use pretty much all of these things every day. What are your tricks, small-purse carriers?

And in my make-up bag there are these essential bits and bobs: 

Fall 2016 Minimalist Wardrobe Inspo

I wanted to keep myself busy this weekend so I wouldn’t get too down about the election and everything that it implies. It really helped to read Lar’s post a couple of times and to spend time away from the news. I busied myself with house stuff like painting an old dresser for my bedroom (follow that riveting saga on my SnapChat: AsianCajunsCath) and cleaning my sneakers (future blog post coming).

I also distracted myself with some fall clothes inspiration. Now that it’s finally getting a little, tiny bit cooler in the south, it’s time to start thinking about long sleeves, cardigans, and boots.

This year, instead of showing you want I want to buy, I’m going to show you what I want to wear. Once I gathered these six images, I realized that I have almost everything in these photos:


I’m a big fan of ankle-showing pants. They might not be practical for other parts of the country during the winter, but there are very few weeks in Atlanta where ankle length pants aren’t warm enough. I need to get some that are work appropriate because right now I just have some cropped jeans, which don’t give off that pantsuit air that I’m going for. #pantsuitnation


I still think white sneakers are the bee’s knees even though white is not traditionally appropriate during the winter. They’re also harder to pull off if you’re not showing a little bit of ankle (see a theme here?), but I think you can pull off that Scandinavian black jeans, black socks, and white sneakers look if you have enough confidence. For the two photos above, I have the slouchy blazer already, t-shirt, and jeans (both boyfriend and skinny styles), but I don’t have a wool 3/4 length coat and that’s definitely at the top of my list. Last year I wrote about how I ended up with this very practical winter coat after Kon Mari-ing all of my clothes. It functions perfectly for the winter, but not for nicer events like going out to a fancy dinner or going to the ballet (both of which I do all the time. . . ahem).


Now, when I do want to dress up I like simple pieces like color-block dresses (is it still color block when it’s just black and white?!) or black skirts with a statement necklace. I love chunky, big, handcrafted-looking necklaces and am thinking about making one or two for the fall/winter season.

So there you have it. I’m still a sucker for an aesthetically minimalist pieces. If you’re bored with that look, check out Lar’s post, Is Minimalism as a Trend Waning?

In the same vein (and if you’re looking for more post-election distraction), read this article on Racked about how embellishments are back – and minimalism is out.

P.S.: All of the photos in this post are from Cup of Jo. Her blog is another good distraction and I love her Style and Beauty Uniform posts that show what real women wear.

P.P.S.: If you still want to indulge in some retail therapy, purchase one of these shirts or pins that supports Planned Parenthood.


Ever since I started this journey towards minimalism, I’ve been practicing this not-so-novel method: not buying replacement products until I completely run out of them. I know, it’s not groundbreaking, but for me it’s a complete mind shift – especially when it comes to beauty products*.

Pre-minimalism-journey, if my favorite foundation or cleanser was feeling every so slightly empty, I would rush out to Target/CVS/Sephora to replenish it. So for at least a couple of weeks, I would have two of the same product in my bathroom cabinet. I blame my dad for having this mentality. Growing up we never ran out of shampoo, nail polish remover, toothpaste, canned goods, paper products, body lotion, or any other number of products because we always had extra in the house. This was due to the fact that my dad would alway buy products that were both on sale and had a coupon regardless of whether or not we needed said item at that moment.

I’m sure he saved our family a lot of money in the long run, but with minimal storage space and a *ahem* slightly more expensive taste than my dad (goodbye Suave and VOL shampoos), coupon cutting and stocking up doesn’t work for me. Plus, the more I buy, the less I know what I have – stuff always gets stuck in the back of a closet somewhere and I never see it again.

And there is an added bonus to waiting. Now that I’ve been using this method of only purchasing items when I’m completely out, I find that I can live without some products. I used to use a fancy toner. When that ran out, I spent a few days using witch hazel before rushing out to replace it, and found that witch hazel worked just as well.

So that brings me to the topic of this post – empties! I always like watching empty videos on YouTube because it’s so satisfying to see things that have been completely used up. For those of you who feel the same, here are my most recent empties:

Bumble and Bumble Dryspun Finish – This is basically the same thing as Oribe Texturizing Spray. It doesn’t smell quite as good, but it works just as well and I can get it at my local salon. I really love how it makes my hair look piece-y and it adds the perfect amount of volume. The main drawback is the price. It’s $31 and the bottle runs out super fast. I’m on my second can and I probably won’t repurchase it again unless I win the lottery or throw my budget out the window.

Bioderma – Lar got me hooked on this micellar water years ago when she was living in Scotland. I purchased this bottle a while ago in Canada. It’s available online in the states, but I don’t know of any stores that sell it (it’s available everywhere in Europe). It’s lightweight and non-greasy, but also really effective at removing makeup. Once I finished the bottle, I purchased Garnier’s michellar water at CVS since I didn’t feel like ordering a bottle of Bioderma online. It’s a nice dupe, but not quiet as good.

Korres Greek Yoghurt Primer – I go through periods where I try to purchase only all-natural makeup products. I grabbed this at Sephora when I was going through one of those periods and fell in love with it. It’s hard to describe the smell – yogurt-y, but in a good way and not overpowering – and it works just as well as other primers I’ve tried. I couldn’t find it the last time I was in Sephora, so I couldn’t replace it when my tube ran out – sob!

Pixi Glow Tonic – I don’t know why, but I feel like such an adult by upping my toner game with an exfoliating toner. Fancy-sounding, right? It’s not the cheapest skin product out there, but it’s available at Target and makes my skin feel so refreshingly smooth. I’m almost done with my second bottle and will repurchase it again as soon as I’m out.

Josie Maran Whipped Argon Oil Body Butter – I got this in a gift set. I loved the scent and it reminds me of a lighter version of the Body Shop’s body butters. The only downside is that I used it up too fast. I didn’t repurchase it because I’ve tried to be a little more money conscious and have started making my own body butter. More on that in a later post 😉

Holly Beth Organics Chamomile Cleanser – I love everything that Holly Beth Organics makes and it’s a local Atlanta brand – woohoo! The only reason I didn’t repurchase this is that I find foaming cleansers, no matter how gentle, are just too drying on my skin.

Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Foundation – This is hands down my all time favorite foundation. It has a light-to-medium coverage, smells amazing, and never ever broke me out or felt greasy. I purchased this over a year ago in Scotland and I should have bought out the store’s supply. You can purchase some Bourjois products online in the states if you do a quick Google search, but you can buy directly from Bourjois’ website. So I’ll just have to stock up next time I’m in the U.K. If anyone knows of a good substitute or a reliable online store to purchase Bourjois foundation, let me know!

Acure Eye Cream – All natural, affordable, and easy to find (Whole Foods, Target, Earth Fare etc.). I haven’t repurchased it because it didn’t blow me away and I wanted to try some other brands. What I did like about it is the feel, it’s light and non-greasy, and the fact that it lasted forever.

*Obviously there are some products that this process doesn’t work for as well: toilet paper, dish soap, wine. . .

One In, One Out

The one in, one out policy is not a new concept for minimalism. I always admired the idea of not increasing the amount of things you own, but didn’t think it was really possible. Now that I’ve minimalized my closet, it’s pretty easy to keep a handle on what I have, what I need, and what I need to get rid of.

So when my beloved Feiyue sneakers bit the dust last month, I replaced them with a shiny new pair of Stan Smiths. I know, I know. Stan Smiths are everywhere and almost passé, but I love the shape and simplicity of the design.


Just like my Feiyues, these Stan Smiths are the ultimate weekend shoe. There’s no need to break them in and they’re really comfortable without socks.

So in honor of my first legit one in, one out attempt, here’s a good ol’ fashion outfit post!


Truly Madly Deeply tank from Urban Outfitters | Baggu tote | Jawbone | Everlane cardi | Old Navy Jeggings | Adidas Stan Smiths


cath-close-upSimple weekend make-up: Physicians formula tinted moisturizer | NYX brow mascara in Espresso | Milani lipstick in Rose Femme | Tarte blush in Exposed

Monday Inspiration: Sia

Dearest Lar,

I rarely talk about my job on the blog. For whatever reason, I’ve always kept AsianCajuns relatively separate from my work in local government. I suppose it makes sense. Economic development doesn’t really have a place in a lifestyle blog. That being said, I’m making an exception today.

As you know (but our readers don’t), I’ve been working with my organization’s innovation team – a group of 12 of us that is charged with creating an innovative project. We gave a presentation on that project in Phoenix at a local government conference last week (where I found this gem). In addition to our presentation, we also got to show our group video – which has nothing to do with our project and everything to do with our definition of innovation:

I debated about whether or not to share the video – mostly for egotistical reasons. I hate my outfit. Seriously. I need to get my shirt tailored and buy new pants. But I’m so proud of my team and their amazing willingness to take part in my crazy idea that I had to share it. I don’t know of any other government organization where you’d find such open-minded and creative folks willing to learn some crazy choreography, put on a blond wig, pink blush, and come in on a Saturday without pay to do a video for work.

Also, Greg shot the whole thing on his fancy camera after I told him I was going to attempt to use my old iPhone. What an awesome friend! And Troy was there the whole time helping Greg with the camera work and he spliced down the song to two minutes so I didn’t have to choreograph a four minute song. Best bf ever!

So basically, I’m riding on a high that I have such amazing friends/co-workers who were willing to do this with me and I wanted to share.

Happy Monday!

xoxo, Cath

Fantas Eyes Give Away

Happy Monday! I thought we’d start the week with a give away. The best part? Five readers will win! Each winner will get a package from Fantas-Eyes that will include one scarf and two sunglasses. I wish I could win one, but that wouldn’t be fair since Fantas-Eyes sent me three pairs this summer – and I’ve been wearing them nonstop 😉

Fantas Eyes


Read through the Rafflecopter below to enter. Also, check out Fantas-Eyes and AsianCajuns on Instagram at @Fantaseyes1989 and @AsianCajunsCath. The contest ends next Monday, Sept. 30 at 5 pm EST. Best of luck and check back tomorrow for Lar’s post on autumn in Scotland!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

See You in Italy!


The day has come! I’ll be leaving for Venice this afternoon. I can’t wait to explore Venice and Florence, but I’m really, really, really looking forward to seeing Lar in Rome in 7 days.

I’ll start posting as soon as I find some decent Wi-Fi.

Thank you for all of your comments on the last few posts! I can’t wait to share our travels with you.

xoxo, Cath

My Make Up Forever Makeover

My daily makeup routine is incredibly boring. It takes me less than 10 minutes to do my makeup every morning because I’ve done the same thing for the past 3 years.

All of my makeup techniques and products have come from Lar. She has a lot more patience for finding out what colors look best on us. Just one of the many benefits to being a twin! Although, come to think of it, she might be significantly more pale than me since she hasn’t seen the sun in over three months.

Anywhoodle, to shake things up a bit, I stopped by the traveling Make Up Forever truck at Atlantic Station when it came to Atlanta a few weekends ago and got some great makeup tips and a full makeover. Look at the transformation!

Syretta, my Make Up Forever makeup pro, was great at showing me how to keep things simple. I had made it pretty clear to her from the beginning that I was incredibly lazy with makeup and only bought colors that I had read about “looking good on every skin tone” in magazines.

I only use tinted moisturizer as a base, so I freaked out a little when I saw all of the layers of primer, concealer and foundation. Who needs all that stuff?! I do! At least that’s how I felt after the makeover. None of the stuff made my face feel cake-y or like my skin couldn’t breathe and it looked like I had a perfect complexion (something I haven’t had since my pre-puberty years).

Syretta wrote down all of the products that she used on my face so I could hop on over to Sephora and buy brand new makeup. Since I still have yet to win the lottery, I only purchased a few items: the HD finishing powder (it’s magical!), the Aqua lip liner in 14C and Aqua Rouge in 15.

The lip color is so much pinker than I would have ever thought to use. When I showed Syretta the lip color that I use everyday she said, “Yeah, that’s, uh, very safe.” What do you mean? It matches perfectly with my lip color?!! You can’t even tell I’m wearing it!!

See how much I needed a makeover? Now I embrace the pink lippies and gray eyeliner (I’ve been using black to rim my eyes for a decade). Makeup break-through! Sort of. I still just use tinted moisturizer 🙂

Believe it or not, this is not a sponsored post. I just realized how many times I’ve written “Make Up Forever” in the past 20 sentences. What can I say? It’s a good makeup brand and the products made me look pulled together and glowing in a sheep-printed sweater. Now if that’s not a measure of a successful makeover, I don’t know what is!


Dearest Lar,

I’m so glad you encouraged me to sign up for the makeover. Do they have Make Up Forever in the UK? They must if they have Sephoras. Apart from the HD powder (which I learned about through JennySue Makeup), I had never really heard of the brand before.

Are you having fun in the manor house in west Scotland? Please keep texting me pics! I’m equal parts jealous and excited for you. And I would really hate the fact that you’re not going to be home for Thanksgiving this year, but I know you’ll be here in less than a month!!!!

Do you know how excited I am about that?! I tell complete strangers that you’re coming home. The dialogue goes something like this:

Stranger: Hi. How are you?

Me: My twin is coming home in December for two weeks!!!!!

Stranger walks away.

Skype me as soon as you get some place with the wifis.

xoxo, Cath

Friday Link Love

Sorry for the slow posting, dear readers! That’ll change next week now that I’m done with the summer semester – woohoo! And in little more than a week Lar and I will be reunited and blogging together – double woohoo! Until then, here’s some fun links for your Friday:

• Even Karl (above) loves the Olympics – here’s proof.

• Love Scoutmob’s new Shoppe program – it’s like hyper local Etsy. Only eight left of these gorgeous gold double bib necklaces.

• Downton Abbey’s Lady Mary, actress Michelle Dockery, looks stunning on the cover of Love.

• The perfect black pump for fall.

• Finally got around to watching this documentary. It’s incredibly inspiring to see someone so passionate about what they do.

• I’m actually kind of looking forward to my long flight to Scotland because I’ll finally get to catch up on some reading, and the reader in me loves this.

• Lar and I love this movie – it’s one of our guilty pleasures. I pretty much know every line word for word and even after more than a decade, I still lust after Meg Ryan’s apartment. It’s okay, you can judge us 😉

• Can’t wait to see a live dance performance next month in a life-sized two-story cardboard house!

• For you locals, come to one of the Poverty Is Real concerts at Eddie’s Attic this weekend – I’ll be there!