How To… prepare a makeup kit.

This post is the last in my “housekeeper’s kits” series. Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V and Part VI at these links.

Ending on something a little lighter for my seventh and final kit: makeup. Again, another one for the girls, but also an idea for a gift!

1: The Bag.

Most people’s makeup bags are too big with too few compartments or too small. Instead, look for something about the size of a pressure cooker pot, a 2l jug or an xBox360, with two or three compartments to it. This should be enough. If you’re an avid collector of makeup, try and keep various kits this size rather than one larger one, as it will keep everything more organized.

2: The Basics.

These are your minimalist makeup products. The two, three or four things you absolutely won’t go without. Keep them all together in a small section or their own pouch.

My basics:

-brown eyeliner

-black mascara

-concealer

-tinted lip gloss

3: The Specials.

These are things you actually use, but not all that often. Fancy dress, dressing fancy or to swap with your basics when you fancy a change. Anything you don’t use daily can be considered here. Anything you don’t use weekly absolutely belongs here. Keep them organized in a larger section of your bag where they can be accessed easily but kept away from your regular use items.

For specials, I would suggest an assortment of makeup with a bias towards makeup that enhances your best asset, all in good colours for you.

-eyeshadow collection in at least 5 colours that look good on you

-a couple of lipsticks that look bold and attractive against your skin

-blushes and countouring in your colours

-something unbelievably sparkly

4: The Applicators and Tools.

The stuff you use to put the makeup on and get your face neatened up. There are thousands of reasons to keep them separate from your main makeup, but the primary one is hygiene. These tools will be in contact with your face every day until they are replaced. You need to keep them clean, keep clean tools away from makeup and not let them come in contact with face cleaning equipment, unless you want to damage brushes or get deep pore cleanser in your eye through your lash curler!

I haven’t had a need for much more than this, but I’m not into heavy makeup most of the time. Add a special applicator for every item you wear regularly!

-large brush for coverage

-smaller brush for bursts of colour

-fan brush for eyeshadow control

-thin applicator for eyeshadow control

-sponges for dabbing and blurring

-lash curlers

-tweezers

-small scissors

5: The Cleaning.

And when you need to make a few corrections or get everything off, these come in handy. These occupy the main area of your bag, seeing as they’re large and best kept handy. You will also want to keep tools for cleaning your brushes and applicators.

6: The Nails.

Nail-care materials are often spread around the house, but it’s worthwhile to keep a set in your makeup bag that never strays from there.

-clippers

-scissors

-nail files

-fake nails and glue

-nail polishes

-nail polish remover

-nail moisturizer

7: The Travel Bag.

Something you can grab and throw your favourite makeup into. You’d take your whole kit with you if you were going somewhere for a week or more, but this is more for an evening or a couple of days.

It needs to have two main compartments: day and night. Maybe a third for interchangeable items. Each will have a makeup combination that covers all the sorts of makeup you wear, but only for one set. So an example would be:

Day: deep beige eye shadow, tinted lip gloss, brown eyeliner.

Night: dark green shiny eyeshadow, red lipstick, darker eyeliner.

Both: concealer, mascara, wipes.

And that is how I would put together a makeup kit!

I’m open to any further suggestions for kits to make and will, if asked nicely, put together some visuals of the kits I use, what’s in them and how to pack them for easy everyday use.

So go ahead and tell me about everyday situations, emergencies or clutter that you really think need a kit. 🙂

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

9 Insanely Cheap Online Shops!

Everyone loves a good bargain. And I for one am happy to use charity shops, reduced-price sections of supermarkets, value high-street retailers and farmer’s markets to try and get everything at an awesome price.

But what about the savvy online shopper? And what about items you can’t find in your home town? I’m sure you’ve already got your own go-to websites or stores for certain things but, just in case, I’m sharing nine incredibly cheap online shops with you!

1: Hidden Fashion.

Hidden Fashion - 9 Insanely Cheap Online Stores

Hidden Fashion is a UK clothes store that sells all sorts of fashionable, current clothing for men, women and children. They do deliver worldwide, but expect to be charged by the kilo, which could add up outside of Europe!

They seem to work with high street surplus, so the quality goes up and down depending on the season and where they got it from, sort of like 99p stores, if you’re familiar with them. There is a lot of variety and the sorting tool makes it easy to find whatever you want.

Their clothes are some of the cheapest I’ve seen around, at £5 or less for everything. I wouldn’t use it for anything fancy as you may not get the best quality, but for one-off items and everyday wear I would definitely recommend it. Delivery costs for the UK start at £2.99, so really you’re paying £4-8 per item, but when you can get leggings or shoes for £1, it’s probably worth it.

2: Nut Site.

NutSite - 9 Insanely Cheap Online Stores

Another thing that can get expensive in stores are seeds, nuts and grains. It seems the little packets come with a surcharge that makes them crazily expensive, but at the same time nobody buys them in large enough quantities to drop the price.

Nut Site is a US based wholesaler for nuts, seeds, candy, you name it. Pretty much everything in bulk. Which means that as long as you’re happy to deal with 10kg of peanuts, you can save a good few dollars compared to in-store prices.

As far as I can see, they don’t offer free delivery. But if you try and make a purchase from them, please tell me what delivery options they have and how reasonable the pricing is!

3: Buy Whole Foods Online.

Buy Wholefoods Online - 9 Insanely Cheap Online Stores

And if you’re from the UK, definitely try out this site. It’s basically the same deal as Nut Site, except I actually have personal experience shopping there and they’re great.

They have a wide variety of nuts, seeds, legumes and grains, as well as organic foods and specialist products, all at next-to wholesale prices. They offer free delivery on UK orders over £30 and deliver to various European countries, with free deliver on orders over £100.

The delivery service is fast and trackable and the quality of the foods is excellent, especially when you can buy crushed nuts and seeds to cut your costs.

4: A’Gaci.

A'Gaci - 9 Insanely Cheap Online Stores

A’Gaci is a US-based store that sells reasonable quality womens’ clothing. They have some high street stores, but if you’re not near any of them, you may not know about their clothing.

The lines are fashionable and, whilst the prices aren’t exactly dead cheap, you can get top-end quality for mid-range prices. Shopping online with them is apparently very easy and the delivery costs are reasonable even for small purchases. Though, be warned, they only deliver to mainland USA, that is, excluding Hawaii and Alaska.

5: 5.99 Fashion.

5.99 Fashion - 9 Insanely Cheap Online Stores

For a middle ground, try out 5.99 Fashion. Every item besides the sale is $5.99! They have a good range of surplus clothing that is often trendy and comfortable. And the sale area lowers the prices even further, down to $0.99!

They also stand out as a clothing store that not only offers womens’, mens’ and kids’ clothes, but also plus-sized clothing (up to 4XL and 18 tops and size 24 bottoms, as of writing this) which is all at the same reasonable price, often present in the sale area and just as cute, fashionable and suitable as the regular sizes. They also offer free returns and exchanges, to make any less flattering purchases that little bit less embarrassing and expensive.

6: Everything £5.

Everything 5 Pounds - 9 Insanely Cheap Online Stores

For a similar, UK-based store, check out Everything £5, where, you guessed it, everything besides sale items will be exactly £5! Again, there are some delivery costs, so it all depends on the weight, but even a few pairs of boots, which would be quite heavy, come up at flat delivery, so you’d probably have to be buying a crate to make delivery expensive.

And it’s another site with reasonable plus sized clothing at the same price as regular sizes, in fashionable cuts and up to 4XL, or UK size 44. So if you’re a British plus sized woman, this store will offer you the same benefits as 5.99. The only difference is that their policy on refunds doesn’t seem quite so kind!

7: Tesco clearance.

Tesco Clearance - 9 Insanely Cheap Online Stores

Another thing worth checking out is the clearance sections of supermarkets and general stores. Not the reduced aisles, the clearance on their online stores! You can snap up some straight-out-the-warehouse bargains alongside your grocery shop by checking out Tesco’s online clearance section!

8: Walmart clearance.

Walmart Clearance - 9 Insanely Cheap Online Stores

And if you’re from the USA, have no fear: Walmart also has its own online clearance section for you to peruse a couple of times a week.

9: Argos clearance.

Argos Clearance - 9 Insanely Cheap Online Stores

And for all sorts of random things, have a look at Argos’ clearance sections. After all, if you’re shopping at Argos anyway, it’s no trouble to sneak a peek at the clearance!

And those are nine online stores where you can get all sorts of awesome stuff cheaply and save your family money on clothes, household goods and expensive groceries.

Where do you like to shop online? Have any hidden bargain stores you’re just dying to share? Please mention any! And feel free to share your experience shopping at any of the above stores. All input appreciated. 🙂

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

How To… declutter your wardrobe the easy way.

Spring cleaning time! We’ve already addressed the clutter in your house. How about we take a look at our wardrobes next? I know, I know: “The horror!” You, like me and pretty much everyone, hate the idea of clearing down your wardrobe. And I get it. It’s always been time consuming, we never know what to part with, we hold onto something and everything “just in case” and eventually we are done, with nothing to show for it but a couple of wasted hours and a top with a few holes in it that maybe we’ll throw away, reuse or thrift (we never do).

So here are some foolproof steps to clearing down your wardrobe the easy way.

1: Sort everything by season.

First of all, none of these tricks work properly is your jumpers are between your sundresses and your shorts. Try and separate your clothing by the seasons there are in your country. Maybe there’s just a dry and a wet season, maybe the Spring and Winter are very obvious, but the Summer and Autumn are similar. However you do it, sort your clothes by the season you’re most likely to wear them.

2: Get storage boxes.

One marked “mending”, one marked “rags and upcycling”, one marked “charity”. Keep the mending one near your sewing. Keep the other two somewhere you can easily move them into your room several times a year, but where they’re out of the way for about 300 days of the year!

When you come across something that’s broken that should be in your “keep” pile, add it to the mending box. When you come across something that’s too bad to give away, put it in the rags box. When you come across something nice that isn’t right for you, put it in the charity box.

3: Use the hanger trick.

Go through this season by season. Hang all your seasonal clothes the wrong way around. Put your seasonal tops and underwear and whatever else upside down in drawers. And just use them all as normal. At the end of the season, whatever’s still the wrong way round hasn’t been used and probably won’t really be missed.

When it comes to work clothes and formal wear, keep them in rotation for a full year. If they get no use in a year, then you probably don’t need them.

Once the first year is up, we move onto stage two of the sorting.

4: Sort it by size.

We all do it. We keep clothes that don’t fit. Maybe they’re from when we were a different size, maybe they shrunk or stretched in the laundry, maybe we were given them. Whatever it is: you don’t need them.

Most people have two sizes they hover between over the course of the year. In my case it’s a small to a large 12, or a large 10 to a small 14. So first make a pile of your range, be it 8-12 or 10L-14S. Everything outside that pile, unless it’s an overgarment you regularly wear over many other clothes, can go.

Next, look through your “keep” pile for anything that only just fits and take it out of the pile. Just because the label says it fits or it sometimes looks OK doesn’t mean it actually fits.

5: Get a theme going.

Like it or not, we all have colours, cuts and styles that suit us. Depending on where you like your variety, try and theme your wardrobe. It’s fine to have a gothic wardrobe full of various colours and cuts, a dress wardrobe full of various styles and colours or a wardrobe that has a bit of anything blue, green and grey.

But if you have a wardrobe with clothing in styles ranging from hippie to emo, in cuts ranging from grungy to classic dresses, in all the colours of the rainbow, you will soon run out of things to wear. Why? Because not only should your wardrobe suit you, your clothes should match. When your clothes largely have something in common you don’t run out of combinations or ideas. So find out what colours suit you best, what your personal style is and what cuts and items are best for your life and see what theme you can work out that meets all your needs.

So now we’ve worked out what to keep, we have three daunting boxes ahead of us.

6: Make a mending pile.

So, this is one of the only two parts where you will actually have to sort the traditional way. Sit down and organize your loved, well-fitting, themed clothes that need mending. Sort them by the type of repair: darning, stitching, patches, rehem, reline, bleach. Then, find a day when you have enough time to repair one group. Do this until you’ve repaired the whole box.

7: Repurpose.

Another part where you have to sort traditionally. Arrange the clothing by fabric type so you can easily access them when you need them. Then, put them in your stash or put them away.

Ideas for old clothes include: dishrags, carseat covers, aprons, cushion covers, hanging organizers, under-table hammocks, patches for mending, etc.

8: Give away.

Finally, take what you’re going to give away. First try offering items to friends or family. Whatever they don’t want, put through the wash, fold and give to a local charity shop.

And that’s how to declutter your wardrobe the long, but very easy way. Not only have you got rid of your clutter, you’ve also got a better wardrobe, fixed your damaged clothes, got an endless supply of dish and wash rags, given to charity and hardly thrown away a scrap of fabric! How about that?

How do you declutter and sort your wardrobe? How do you reduce your fabric footprint? What is your fabric stash like? Do you reuse much? Please share your ideas, thoughts and advice in the comments!

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

10 Ways to Dress More Modestly.

[Disclaimer: Everyone’s idea of modesty is a little different. Take for example the “grace and class” explanation at GBG vs HeavenlyHearth’s need for headcovering and skirts every day vs Hearthie’s modest and practical Rita shorts. All modest and sometimes compatible, all different. Furthermore, not everyone wants to dress modestly. Some may think I dress prudishly and some may think I am not modest enough. Finally, modesty isn’t necessarily fashionable. It can be. Modesty can look great. But I’m no fashionista and this advice won’t help you look trendy or find clothes that suit you. If you want fashion and style, visit Hearthie or Little Pretty Mess, my favourite style blogs. These are just my recommendations based on my experiences of wanting to dress a little more modestly than the typical girl/woman my age.]

There are many reasons to dress modestly. We have faith, dress codes, weather, professionalism, getting better attention, etc.

But it can be hard to get into the mindset. A lot of people don’t like not attracting attention, so covering the best assets can feel like too much. Other people have a hard time finding the balance between pretty and covered, so they either feel frumpy or like they haven’t covered enough yet. Other people feel the pressure to be trendy and dress like their peers. Other people get warm easily and would rather feel cooler and more comfortable. Other people have a hard time finding covering clothes that also work for their job and activities.

So, with that in mind, here are 10 tricks to dressing more modestly.

1: Get a stylist.

It doesn’t have to be a pro, though that can help. It could be your best-dressed friend, or even someone aspiring to work in style, like Hearthie, who has been practicing her dress advice on innocent victims lately.

But getting an outside eye that has a vested interest in making you look good may be enlightening. You could discover that your legs are so long that certain shorts look more revealing on you than on others, or that red with your natural palette makes you look immodest even in covering clothes.

When it’s a professional, an aspiring professional or someone with a little talent you could even learn about the colours that suit you best, how to highlight your assets more naturally and what sorts of jewelery suit you.

2: Read up on style.

feminine5

Whether you find a stylist or not, make a point of studying style. Learn what your body shape is, what your natural palette is called and run a few searches to find the sort of clothes people with that body type and those colours wear.

The next step is to find a modestly dressed celebrity with your figure and your colours, or one with your figure and another with your colours, and to follow their fashion choices. Take notes of what looks more modest, what looks like too much and what looks too immodest. Eventually you’ll find what sort of clothes look right on people with your figure and will be able to shop for them.

Try keeping a fashion diary as you transition into more modest clothing. Take a photo of your daily outfits and, at the end of the week, grade them on Style, Effort, Modesty and Match. So you could be A* for Style and Effort, but F for Modesty and Match, meaning your clothes are trendy and well put together, but immodest and poorly suiting you. Take every week’s best outfit and use them as inspiration for future outfits.

3: Learn about makeup minimalism.

A good woman won't look like this when she's jobless, her family is falling apart and her home is a pig-sty. Priorities.

Makeup can have a huge impact on how your clothes come across. A girl-next-door outfit of jeans and a loose t-shirt can be made more alluring with heavy eye makeup and bright red lips. A very short Summer dress or pair of shorts can look perfectly modest with light or no makeup.

The 3 bare basics for makeup are concealer to hide blemishes, eyeliner in your natural haircolour to emphasize eyes and lip gloss to add shine or a little colour to lips. You don’t even need to wear them, really, but if you’re going to wear makeup, the 60s Boho look of flawless skin, lightly tinted or glossy lips and a line above the eye is all you desperately need.

The next level is to intensify all of these three: add foundation over the concealer, naturally coloured mascara to the eyeliner and actual lipstick, maybe a shade darker than your own, under the gloss.

Anything you add on top of that can be too much, so be sure to downplay everything else suitably. Brighter lips? Make them a bit less glossy and the eye line a little smaller. Heavy mascara? No undereye line and no lipstick, just gloss. Eye shadow? Just use gloss and no mascara. Once you can start seeing the makeup or the Barbie-effect, you’ve gone too far. You want to rein it in and look natural and sweet, not heavy and seductive.

4: Legs, belly, bust, bum.

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It’s probably been said a thousand times, but: pick one. You can’t have everything on display. Even in the warmest weather, try and pick just one, two at the most. Yes, this can be hard at first, but I assure you that the people who want to see your every piece of flesh revealed in public don’t deserve to see it.

Another trick to working with this is the half exposure. Short-shorts means one exposed area: legs. Knee-length shorts means half an exposed area: lower legs. So fully exposed areas are all your leg or your leg up to mid-thigh, your midriff from your bust to your mid-hipbone, half your breasts or more, the underline and crack of your buttocks (crack even through fabric, is crack, don’t deal crack). And half exposed areas are your leg from the knee down, your midriff from the belly button up or down, less than half each breast, the underline of your buttocks.

This means you can only expose full cleavage and should really cover your stomach, buttocks and legs entirely, but you can display upper cleavage and lower leg, for example.

5: Bodycon dos and don’ts.

feminine2

Bodycon is everyone’s favourite way out of modesty. Now, it all depends on your personal standards and requirements, but let’s just pause to remember that a bodycon dress exposes 95% of what a morph suit or most catsuits would, even if it conceals all your skin.

However, if bodycon fits your modesty requirements, how do we make sure not to put it outside of them?

Firstly, makeup is, again, an essential tool to keeping it modest. Simpler, sweeter makeup could even make a catsuit look less sensual.

Secondly, where full bodycon can look nice for evenings, try and only do partial bodycon for daily wear. If the rule for skin is “legs, stomach, bust or bum, pick one”, the rule for bodycon is “legs, stomach, bust or bum, pick two”. So yoga pants would be fine if worn with something that entirely covers the form of your upper body and modest makeup. And a fitted top with a low-cut bust is fine as long as you wear it with a skirt of trousers that don’t show any flesh or contour. Although, as you can probably guess by picturing my examples, it’s hard to make half-body bodycon look suitable for daily wear. It often looks lazy or too explicit. It is often better to contour legs and expose bust, but cover bum contours and cover the skin of your stomach. But I’ve just described a cute dress and tights, haven’t I?

Remember girls: Style is Seasonal, Taste is Timeless.

6: One accessory off, one strip of fabric on.

She's feminine.

In the words of Coco:

Once you’ve dressed, and before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take at least one thing off.

Wise, wise words. Too many accessories can look gaudy, and make a modest outfit look frumpy, encouraging us to reveal more skin to justify all the pretty shimmers and sparkles. They can even make a perfectly cute outfit very eye-catching and draw attention to you or your most revealed assets. Plunging neckline plus a belly-length necklace equals more eyes on your revealed cleavage.

So before you go out, take off one accessory, preferably the one nearest your most revealed skin. You can also use your accessories to detract from revealed skin. Many bracelets or a sparkly belt when wearing very short shorts draw eyes to your thighs, but a chunky necklace will draw eyes up to your upper body, where the asset most on display should be your face.

Secondly, I would add that after you have composed your outfit, swap one item for a slightly more modest one. For example, if you have chosen a pair of jeans and a tight blouse, go and swap the blouse for one with a higher neckline, a lower hemline or a loose fit. Literally just imagine you have to add 2″ of fabric to the neckline, hems or sides of the blouse. Or if you’ve chosen an above-knee skirt and a top, go and swap the skirt for jeans or an exactly knee-length skirt.

This way you always err on the side of caution with modesty and avoid mistakes such as a skirt being just too short, or a blouse looking a bit too transparent. And you are being cautious without going crazy and being frumpy.

7: Modesty in movement and gestures.

feminine22

A lot about sensuality is conveyed in the way you move. Make the effort to walk in front of a mirror or webcam to watch how you move.

Good posture is essential to modesty, otherwise you just look browbeaten or lazy. Keep your stomach and bum in, your chest slightly up and your head facing straight forwards. Let your arms hang neutrally, but not as complete dead weight and they will swing to balance you on their own.

Next, try and walk like a catwalk model.

Like a seductress.

Like catwoman.

Like an angry teenager.

By now you should be getting a feel for the nuances of your body. For effect, try these without shoes and in heels. Some people may find they walk “too sexy” in heels, so this may be a concern for you.

Likewise with all your motions and your posture. Be aware of your body and what you are wearing. We don’t bend over in short skirts, but we should also be sensible enough not to lean in low-cut tops, not to squat deep in long skirts or jeans and not to stretch in tight clothing. If we can’t avoid bending, we probably shouldn’t be in a short skirt and likewise we shouldn’t wear unsuitable clothes if we can’t avoid squatting, leaning, stretching, turning, jumping, etc.

8: Deal with peer pressure.

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Your friends and family will not suddenly adopt long skirts or a “no belly” policy just because you have. If anything, they will be trying to convince you to go back to the way you used to dress or to dress like them.

Be prepared to be pressured to dress immodestly. Learn an easy, unoffensive way of explaining your reasons to dress modestly. This way, when confronted you don’t need to act defensive or worry about calling someone a temptress or a tart. Even if you phrase it nicely and well, in fact, especially if you phrase it nicely and well, some people will pressure you even more to dress immodestly. Politely decline and change the conversation. Don’t get drawn into it.

When you are at home, don’t stress about not showing off enough. By all means, ask yourself if you are getting a little frumpy or lazy, if you are dressing less fashionably or not dressing to suit your figure. Those are valid questions and if someone simply thinks high-waist long skirts don’t suit you, ask yourself what sort of skirt or trouser would suit you. But don’t ask yourself if you’re showing enough flesh. That is the wrong question because the vast majority of people around you, as well as most celebrities, will be showing more. Your standard is different to their standards. You are never showing “too little” skin.

9: Fit your style to different settings.

Fire is a lot more work than it looks.

The hardest part about dressing modestly is that by the time we’ve worked out what to wear when we visit our friends, go shopping or get our hair done, we have to work out what to wear to work, to a party or on a date. It can be very tempting to revert to your old style of dress when you aren’t sure.

To prevent this, take your outfit planner and look through it. Find five or six different outfits you really love that are high scorers: trendy, modest, with effort and personal style. Next, think of how to recombine them to make them suit different settings.

You could pair a top and jeans with a blazer and flats for work, or with heavy jewelery and brightly coloured heels for a party, or with an elaborate hairdo and great nails for a date. You could pair a long skirt and blouse with a tight bun, a scarf and boots for work, or with cute flats and loose hair for a party, or with bracelets, pumps and a matching bag for a date.

Work through every week’s favourite look to rehash it into something more versatile. That way you are never caught short.

10: Dress codes.

Dressing for work isn't the same as dressing for a night out, knitting club or a lazy afternoon.

Dressing for work.

Evening date.

Dressing for evening date.

Finally, work on a category for each style of dress. As you document your weekly outfits, you will find some that score moderately, but still look good. My advice? If it’s B-A* for Style and Match, save it for something else.

There are many official dress codes to read up on.

But I’d actually recommend writing your own based on your actual weekly life.

For example, mine are:

Work. High modesty, high match, high effort, average to high style.

First time client. High modesty, high style, average to high match and effort.

Jon. High match, high effort, low to average modesty, average to high style.

Shopping. High modesty, high match, average to high style and effort.

Housework. High modesty, average to high match, style and effort.

Visiting and dinner parties. High match, high style, average to high modesty and effort.

Clubs and groups. High match, high modesty, average to high style and effort all over the place.

Going out. High effort, high style, average to high match, average modesty.

Based on my lifestyle, those are right for me. However, if, for example, I went out without Jon more often, my going out dress code would more closely resemble my dinner party or first time client dress codes.

So based on your needs and life, create your own categories with your own requirements and take any outfits that look great but don’t have a perfect score and save them for such events!

And that is all for today’s list. I hope it’s helpful.

TTFN and Happy Hunting.

So how about you? What are your reasons and requirements for modesty? Do you keep a record of your styles? Have you ever visited a stylist? Do you think I have been too harsh or too lenient on bodycon, for example? What would be your advice and tips for keeping modest? How do you deal with peer pressure? Do tell!