Welcome to the Cottage.

The Tiny Canal Cottage® is a 1920's Craftsman-style house by the Venice Beach Canals in Southern California. This <400 sqft home/office is the full-time residence of Creative Director Whitney Leigh Morris, her husband, their son, and two rescue beagles.

Simplifying Skincare + Makeup Products

Simplifying Skincare + Makeup Products

I recently uploaded an Instagram Stories slide from our trip to Laguna Beach showing how my tiny beauty collection (which fits in a This Is Ground pouch) has saved me money, freed up space in our tiny bathroom, made traveling easier, and vastly improved my complexion. I received so many DMs requesting further details that I figured I should share more via the blog. (The last time I shared anything on this topic was in this postpartum body post.)


We don't have any drawers in our bathroom, so when we first moved into the cottage, I upcycled a hardware drawer to contain my cosmetics. I sanded and painted the box (which I found on Etsy), and I loved how it looked and functioned. I used one drawer per category, and everything stayed organized thanks to drawer dividers. I could always find everything instantly. However, after a few years I began to worry that perhaps an old container like this might contain chemicals (or traces of them) that I should avoid when pregnant / breastfeeding, so I replaced it.


I got rid of about 1/3 of my products so that my collection could fit into this well-designed cosmetics case. I downsized by asking myself the following:

  • Has this item irritated my skin in any way at any time?
  • Have I used this item within the past month?
  • Is it old or expired? (It could very well be harboring harmful bacteria if so...)
  • If I'm traveling, would I want to take this with me? Is it a must-have?
  • Am I saving it for an out-of-the-ordinary occasion, like Halloween or a themed party? (If so, that's absurd. It's got to go.)

Every item that remained had a cozy new home within the portable organizer, which was compact enough to fit in our bathroom cubbies or under the sink. I used this case for a several months before realizing that I was only ever fishing out the same handful of items day after day. Meanwhile, my skin started revolting after I finally fully weaned West off of breastfeeding. I was randomly breaking out in new places, and in different ways. (I'm 37 years old and regularly on camera, so I'm now at a point where I am really, really, REALLY over blemishes.) 

I wanted to pinpoint the products that worked with my skin, and identify the products that were causing me to breakout in tandem with my fluctuating hormones. I ended up eliminating the majority of the items within my cosmetics case, so I donated it and replaced it with two beautiful  This Is Ground Plug Packs that can easily fit in small handbags, or anywhere in the Cottage.

makeup container evolution.jpg

One pack carries my must-have cosmetics, which are now my only cosmetics:


I rarely need brushes these days. I mainly use them to apply Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint on special occasions, or to apply shadow eyeliner or brow powder when I go out at night. But on the daily, I don't need high end, full-sized brushes any more.

I now carry this pack with me everywhere. It's nice to not have to pack up a small collection of makeup before heading out the door or on a trip. None of these products irritate my skin, and I like how they all look, both on my skin and within their packaging.

The other pack carries my skincare products:


(The two larger bottles live in the medicine cabinet, and I keep travel versions in the portable pack. More on that later.) I am a major fan of True Botanicals' cleansers, face oils and serums. I also use a goop eye cream, mermaid hair oil (from time to time), and Kate Somerville moisturizing sunscreen.

I've also begun getting facials once a month, which is a game-changer. If I can't make my monthly appointment, I wear Kate Somerville's ExfoliKate, which is available in a compact travel size. (I use the travel size at home, because it's easy to fit in the medicine cabinet, and it would take me years to get through a full-sized bottle anyway.)

I use coconut oil to remove my eye makeup before applying anything else before bed. I just let the oil melt in my hands, and then use my fingers to gently clear away mascara and liner before rinsing clean with water and patting dry.

I have a full size Foreo Luna 2 for facial cleansing use at home.

I am never one to grab or hoard sample products. I find that they usually end up sitting unused for years, adding to miscellaneous drawer clutter. But I do request or buy samples of the skincare products I use regularly but find hard to pack for travel:


My favorite sample packs are available for purchase from True Botanicals. They also make compact, TSA-approved travel bottles for their products. 

When I travel, I obviously can't fit the larger full-sized skincare bottles in my 2nd This Is Ground pouch, so I keep trial sizes in there instead. I use a Foreo Luna Go, which is a fantastic tiny cleansing tool. Lastly, I use a travel pack of makeup removers instead of coconut oil when I'm on-the-go, as there isn't always a sink immediately available. 

current storage.jpg
Roundup: Mirrored Products for Small Spaces

Roundup: Mirrored Products for Small Spaces

Tiny Adventures: Laguna Beach