So, as you can probably tell, I'm having some LA withdrawals.
I'm trying not to be so basic, guys. But it's hard. I figured a haul post might be somewhat cathartic. Let's give it a go. Before we start proper, I just want to say that I'm not generally a fan of haul culture. I think that it's something that encourages people to spend money unnecessarily, and gives young adults the idea that life is only fulfilling when it allows you to buy much and buy often.
I also think haul posts tend to support a linear economy of buy, expend, waste, rather than help to instill a circular economy that supports creativity in reuse, and recycling. Not to mention, there is little accountability expected from the companies who sell or provide these products - this means that bloggers might tacitly be endorsing goods made under poor working conditions, those that contain earth-unfriendly materials, and those that are tested on animals. Not all that and a bag of chips, and I'm guilty of this, too.
Right about now you're probably asking why I bothered writing. Or, more likely, why you've bothered reading. Well, in what I hope doesn't prove to be a rather hearty example of hypocrisy, I think there are ways that hauls can be about fun without all the other negative crap.
For one, I think that if hauls are done around a trip or some other big event, they're doing a little better than those that are just about some really lucky person's trip to the mall on a Tuesday. You know, for kicks. In other words, hauls are more acceptable to me when they're infrequent, and it's obvious that an everyday shopping habit isn't what's being portrayed as valuable, or good, or healthy.
Second, I think that hauls are less ick if you give yourself parameters. Restrictions, whether monetary or more closely aligned with ingredient integrity, make hauls a celebration of successful discovery. A great vegan, natural, affordable luminizer for example (we'll get to the fun stuff soon, I swear). It's the difference between 'I bought this stuff, and it's awesome, and you can't afford it but you can watch me afford it' and 'Guys, can you believe I got this for $15?! Can you believe it exists!?' Of course these are both privileged positions, but in one instance I think we are more aware of this status and in the other not as much.
Thirdly, and this one I wish I was more consistent with, if hauls include products that a creative knows have been manufactured without harm, I think that sharing those products is a really good thing - even if the first two of my rules aren't obliged. We need more of this stuff to be celebrated so that more companies start making their treats conscientiously.
And on that note, let the hypocrisy begin. Before I arrived in the States, I had a pretty clear list of the things I would part with money for. At the top of my list was vegan, organic makeup. It's not an easy find in South Africa, and I figured it would help me to plunge deeper into an industry that was, and is, increasingly more attractive to me. So, I did it for you guys. Sorta. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
I also said I wouldn't shy away from books, blotting papers that didn't need to be facilitated through a small loan (my skin is really, really oily, okay?), and one uber-kitsch souvenir. The rest of my savings would go to food and events. But really it just went to food. The vegan food in LA is everywhere but also ridiculously expensive. G and I ate at a fast food chain a couple of times and each visit cost us more than supper at a five star restaurant would cost in South Africa. It rather ruined the taste, though you couldn't tell looking at me (I came back a little pouffy, but my boobs look great so who currs?).
So, not much like in the food department, but I was lucky enough to find most of the things on my short list, even if they also weren't cheap as they looked on the shelves - the States adds tax only at the till, so you get some NASTY suprises when you check out. It hurt.
Anyhoo. I got some kick-ass makeup from The Detox Market, an organic beauty shop in Beverly Hills; a colour-correcter for my redness, and a highlighter for my brightness-to-be. I'll let you know how it goes. Then I got some blotting papers from Sephora that didn't ask for my first born in exchange. Yay!
I also got a cheesy American flag bikini from Victoria's Secret, and an impulse-buy body mist. I've since learnt that the label uses something akin to slave labour to make their products, and it turns out that Victoria Secret tests on animals when required by law (in China). Don't I feel fabulous?
(Isn't this turning out to be so fun, you guys? Aren't you so glad you took time out to read it? I love you. Please stay).
One thing I didn't get were books. After a suggestion from a lovely local, G and I hit up The Last Book Store and got lost in a second-hand-book heaven, complete with a book tunnel, and horror vault. I died. By the end of the visit my arms were gripped tight around what I had decided would make up my (northern) summer reading list. Then I remembered baggage restrictions, and put each AMAZINGLY-priced book away and bought them all for triple the price on Kindle instead. Hmph. Still bitter. Can you tell?
Then there's this guy, who I wasn't banking on. The Polaroid. A camera. An instant camera. And damn, do I love my instant cameras! I didn't technically buy this. G actually got it from a Youtuber who didn't want the entirety of his VidCon swagbag (what else was in there!?). His loss is my grateful gain, although I do foresee myself quickly bankrupted in film charges. Tit for tat, I guess.
And that's that, everyone. Thanks for making it through the most depressing haul post you've likely ever finished. I think I'll just update the Mission Statement with an insert on haul culture and save us all a lot of drama next time round. Let me know what you thought of the post. I'd be interested to know if anyone agrees or disagrees with what I have to say on the effects of posts like these. I'm thankful for anything that works towards a future of guilt-free shopping. Please. Pleeease.
Until Saturday, lovelies!