Monday, October 15, 2012

The alien in my side is back

So this post is going to be kind of all over the place, but that's how my brain works, so I guess it's fitting, right?  On Saturday, I was sitting on my bed (mattress on the floor since we sold our bedroom set) thinking about everything we need to do, and the alien came back.  I guess I should explain, for many years now, I've suffered from anxiety and depression.  It's something I don't talk about much, but it's always there.  I used to take medication to control it, but I didn't like the way it didn't make me feel.  I guess the best way to describe it is a volume dial on your radio, most people, when it comes to emotions, are right in the middle.  For me, my day to day is cranked all the way to 10.  When I was medicated, I was about a 2, I just didn't feel anything.  If there were meds that would keep me right in the middle, or close to "normal" I might take them, but for now, I deal with being overly emotional. I've been told I need to be more thick skinned, this was from people who don't understand. There's a difference between the two, I can take criticism just fine, I'm not able to just turn off my emotions (what I wouldn't give to be a vampire ala Vampire Diaries).  Anyway, getting back to sitting on my mattress being totally overwhelmed, the alien came back.  You see, I don't always have full out panic attacks, sometimes my anxiety comes in pain.  A little over a month ago, I started having a pain in my side, and kept telling Steve it felt like I had an alien living inside me, trying to get out.  At the time I was having major anxiety, but once I was able to get over the issue, the pain went away.  Thinking about all that we have to do in order to get the house in order, the alien made a return appearance.  However, this time I was able to get rid of him pretty quickly.  Instead of sitting there, crying over my frog tape, I went to get my hair done.
I don't know how you relax, but as soon as I get in that chair, everything else just disappears.  It helps that I have a couple of the greatest girls handling the mess on my head.  I went for copper red this time, here's the picture I gave her:
I'd say she did exactly what I asked for, and I'm in love with my color.  Do you see the purple peeking out? Love!  I thought it would be a bad idea though, seeing as that I'm currently interviewing for a new job.  As it is, they don't know about my tattoos yet.  Steve can't believe that I would be worried that they would have a problem with visible tattoos, seeing as it's 2012 and all, but I totally am.  So, needless to say I thought better of adding purple to my hair.  But wait!  Have you heard of hair chalk?
You can "color" pieces of hair, set it with hair spray or heat and it washes out the next time you shampoo.  They were out of the purple at the salon, but I'm going to Ulta this week to look for it.  Yes, I'm probably too old for this, but I don't care, I love being able to change up my look with hair color and makeup whenever I want, it's part of the fun of being a girl.
Yesterday we got a good amount of painting done, and got the kitchen all packed up, so I'm feeling a little better about the disaster area that is my house.  I'm sure I'll feel overwhelmed, and stressed every other day, but I'm working hard to manage it on my own.  Yes, there will be meltdowns (must to Steve's dismay) but if it gets us to TX, it's all worth it.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Want to help me pack?

So getting ready to move sucks.  We've been in our house for 14 years next week.  There are so many little things that have needed to be done for so long, and we just kept putting them off.  Now that we want to move in the next couple months, everything needs to be done NOW.  The list is looooong, with not a lot of time, and trying to spend the least amount of money possible.  We've been painting trim, and doors every free minute we have.  I currently have living room furniture in my kitchen, and since we decided we're going to sell a lot of our furniture and buy new, we're sleeping on a mattress on the floor.  Don't get me wrong, I'm happy that our bedroom set sold so fast, but having all of Steve's clothes in tubs kind of sucks.  I'm not one for ironing, so if you see us in the next month or two, he's gonna be wrinkly.  My wonderful friend has been at our house painting the ceilings for us this week.  Have I mentioned how much I hate to paint?  I do.  A lot.  The realtor said maybe it would be a good idea to paint more neutral colors (I like bright, orange, yellow, green, you need sunglasses in my house.)  We're painting the ceiling white, good enough for me.  I know there are people out there who can't get over color, but if you're not going to buy my house because you don't like the paint color, then I don't want you to have it.

We picked out our cabinets and countertops last weekend, hopefully they'll be in around the first weekend of Nov.  Tile is being purchased tonight, that gives Steve 3 weeks to get the floor done.  Sounds like plenty of time right?  We'll see about that. 

I have another interview in 20 minutes, wish me luck, I'll let you know how it goes!

First world problems:  I love reading other blogs, but when you're 24, still in school and your parents pay your rent so you don't need to work, don't complain that you missed out on that great Kate Spade purse because you couldn't get online fast enough for the sale.  Some of us have to work our booties off to be able to afford a Kate Spade.  At the outlet.  For 60% off.

Edited to add:  You bet I went online to see if there's a Kate Spade outlet near where we'll be in TX.

Hey, I'm still here

So yeah, just call me slacker.  It’s not that I don’t have anything to say, because I do.  I guess I’ve just become a little disenchanted with the beauty world lately.  I go on the beauty forums, and lately, it seems like no one is happy with anything.  I went on Birchbox’s Facebook page the other day, and saw people threatening to tell everyone in the WORLD what a waste the service is because one of the samples they got was too small, and another complaining about getting nail polish in their beauty box.  I mean, the nerve!  Who would want a beauty product in their beauty box?  I look at it this way, Birchbox is fun.  $10 a month is going twice to Starbucks, if I don’t get something great in my box this month, I hope next month will be better.  If it’s not, then it’s up to me to cancel or find another box I like better.  It’s things like this that have just kind of taken the fun out of it for me lately. 

So, here’s what’s new with me.  We’re moving to TX.  Not like, we’re talking about maybe moving at some point in the future, we’re moving.  I’ve been interviewing with a company, and it’s looking pretty good.  We have a town picked out we like, and are going down next month to check it out and look at some houses.  We’re working with a realtor, and trying to remodel our kitchen in the next month to get our house on the market by Thanksgiving.  Do I want to move in the middle of winter? No!  But, at least we’re heading south away from the cold, right?  So, in an effort to get back into blogging more, besides my usual hoarding of beauty products, I’m asking you to follow me as this Chicago girl heads south to TX.  I’m sure I’ll have a lot to talk about.

First world problems:  I’m 5’7”, why is it that if I buy regular length jeans I can sew them up at the bottom like they’re footie pajamas?  I bought a pair in short length yesterday and they’re perfect.  If I’m considered short, what is regular?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

4 Butter London Polishes for $11!

Ok, this is a great deal seeing as they're usually $14 each.  Hurry though, I'm sure it won't last long!
Coterie is in their pre-launch, the site officially launches on the 17th.  Right now though, you can get 3 Butter London polishes, and either a Matte, or Hardwear topcoat for $11!  They have 6 colors to choose from.  When I looked this morning they were sold out of 5, but this afternoon they must have restocked, and added the Hardwear topcoat option.  Here's how you get this great deal:
In the first box type in OBSESSED-VIP
Then fill in your e-mail and a password
Once you're in, go to events and you'll see the Butter offer.  Click on shop, pick if you want the Matte or Hardwear topcoat and pick your 3 shades.  It'll show as $36 for your total.
Go to checkout.  Fill everything in, but in promo code type in VIPMEMBER.  This will take $25 off of your order!
Like I said, this won't last long, but they did restock, so if it's sold out keep checking!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I need a rain day

Is it bad that I'm hoping for a rain day on the weekend so I can get caught up around here?  I have a list of things to post about, and a pile of products I need to take pictures of, and no time to do it.  I don't think I'll get my rain day this weekend, but I'm hoping to carve some time out.  We have a realtor coming tonight to tell us what we need to do in order to get our house ready to sell, so I'm sure that list won't be short.  It seems any free time we do get is spent taping and painting.  I'm hoping to get all the little things done before we start the big things. Kitchen and bath remodel anyone?  It'll all be worth it when we're packing up and on our way to Texas!
So a short post today, anyone use Twistbands?  I received one in my first Birchbox, and pretty much immediately ordered a 6 pack of them.

So yes, I paid $12 for 6 little pieces of elastic, but for my thick hair they work so well!  They're gentle on hair, and don't leave a dent.  I spend many weekends on the back of a motorcycle.  If we stop and get off anywhere I usually look like I just got out of a wind tunnel.  With these I can take my hair down, run a brush through it and I'm good to go.  Really though? $12 for 6?  I thought I could do better than that, and I did.
I give you 80 for a whopping $16, and $4 of that was shipping!  I was able to get 20 yards of the same elastic Twistband uses and in under an hour made all these.  I held one of mine next to one of the authentic bands and couldn't tell the difference.  Twistband would charge over $156 for these.  Now will I ever use all of them? No.  But, I did put them on my trade list, if they help get me more products that I'll use for virtually $0 then it was definitely worth it!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Because who doesn't want food delivered to their door?

I've been MIA for awhile.  Work has been busy, then add in a trip to Texas and I go back into slacker mode.  I have a ton to talk about, so I'm hoping to get caught up here in the next week. 
In the meantime, there are a couple great deals going on over at DailyCandyDeals.  The first one is for Love With Food.
 This box is normally $10 a month, plus $2 shipping for a box with at least 8 gourmet food samples.  And the best part is that with every box purchased, Love With Food donates a meal to a hungry child.  With this deal, you can get 3 months for $15, plus a one time $2 delivery charge.  It does automatically bill you every 3 months, so if you don't want to pay $36 each quarter, make sure to cancel after you receive your third box.
Next up is Mistobox.  This box sends you 4 coffee blends each month for $15.  You save a little if you sign up for 6 or 12 months.  This deal gets you 2 months for $15.  The shipping is free, but there is a processing fee of $.50.  Again, make sure to cancel after the 2 months if you don't want it to automatically renew.
Until tomorrow night (Friday Sept 7th) if you enter the promo code laborday you save $10 on your order, so you can get either box for just $5.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The reason my mailman hates me

I just have to say, it's a good thing I was home from work on Monday to intercept the mail.  If the husband would've gotten home first to see all the packages that came, he probably would've had a heart attack.  Granted I only paid for 2 of them, but he didn't know that at the time.  I, however, had a blast going through all my goods.  The rain on my vacation day didn't even bother me when I had new loot to check out.  Here's what showed up that day:
First was a trade.  I believe I sent her a Laura Gellar eye spackle, and lip gloss, and got all this in return.  That bottle on the bottom right is a Demeter roll on in Clean Skin, and oddly enough that's exactly what it smells like.  I've been in love with Demeter scents for years and was happy to get this one.
Next up,
A bunch of dish soap samples from Caldrea, along with a spot treater.  I've actually been looking for Caldrea but haven't been able to find it offered anywhere near me so I was happy to get these.
This one was a bit of a surprise.  Lancome shadow quad in Pretty Pretty.  This was a freebie for doing surveys for L'Oreal's consumer testing panel.

This was my Bzz kit that I posted about earlier.  You can kind of see in this pic how light the color is, way lighter than my skin tone.  I guess a lot of people ended up with colors that didn't match their skin.  I was able to test the products just fine, just can't use them beyond that.

This was one of my 2 paid shipments.  I used my 20% anniversary coupon from Birchbox.  Supergoop sunscreen, Sabon foot cream (OMG love!), J.R. Watkins lemon hand and cuticle salve, and Origins Checks & Balances (of which is the husband's HG cleanser).
I was so excited about this one, my free sample of Rose Hips Black Soap from Shea Terra.  This is a 1oz sample and will last a good long time.  I had heard so much about this cleanser I couldn't wait to try it.

And when I requested the sample, they were nice enough to tell me about their 30% off coupon code that was currently going on.  I ran to the website and placed a full size order.  Full size Rose Hips Black Soap (review to come later), Man Power Shea Healing Balm, Bananas & Baobabs lip butter, and mini shea whippers in Bananas & Baobabs, Gingered Pumpkin, and Vanilla Bourbon.  They also sent 3 samples of other products.  I can't even begin to say how much I love Shea Terra products.  Their August 30% off promotion ended yesterday, and since I didn't want to wait for the Sept one I placed a 2nd order.  I'll be getting the full size Bananas & Baobabs whipped shea butter, and Premium Dark Chocolate Sugar-Stone Exfoliating Cream. 
All that in one day.  When I walked outside and saw boxes stacked on my porch I figured that was it, then I could barely get everything out of my mailbox since it was packed so tight.  After all this I should be good for a long while.  (Who am I kidding right?)


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I'm a Bzz Agent

A few months ago I signed up to be a Bzz Agent.  Bzz Agent is a social marketing company.  They send out products to consumers and ask that you share your opinions via reviews. Facebook, Twitter,  photos, videos, blog posts and word of mouth, it doesn't matter as long as you talk about it.  After I signed up I had to do a ton of surveys to see what campaigns I would qualify for.  It was awhile before I finally got selected for anything, but last week I received my first Bzz kit. 
This campaign is for Covergirl & Olay.  They sent me a foundation and pressed powder in fair/light.  I don't remember what I answered to get this color, but I'm more of a light/medium, but never fair.  I also don't wear foundation on a normal basis, I'm more of a tinted moisturizer girl if anything at all.  Regardless, I figured I could still try it out and give my honest opinion. 
First up is the COVERGIRL & Olay Tone Rehab 2-in-1 Foundation.  It combines a foundation and a hydrating serum to hydrate, and improve skin over time.  It covered well, and didn't feel heavy.  I'll try it again in the winter when it'll be a better match for my skin and I can wear it all day.  At $20 I don't know if I would buy it since I can spend just a little more and get the Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint.
Next is the COVERGIRL + Olay Pressed Powder.  It's supposed to brighten and soften without being cakey.  I agree it's not cakey, I normally don't use a pressed powder for this reason.  My norm is a powder bronzer that I brush on year round.  Again, I'll probably try this in the winter, but I'm afraid it'll be too matte for me.
Also in the kit was a big stack of $2 off coupons to hand out, which my friends are currently enjoying.  I use a lot of natural products, so these definitely aren't something I would reach for, but I'm sure I can hand them off to a friend who will get a lot of use out of them.
All in all I enjoyed my first campaign, and I'm looking forward to the next one!

(For some reason my pictures won't load.  Look for them to be added later!)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

One love! One heart!

I get a lot of samples in the mail.  Usually at least 3 days a week there's something waiting for me when I get home.  Most of the time I don't even remember asking for them.  People don't realize that most companies will send you samples for free, or a minimal charge if you just ask.  Some will charge you postage/shipping, or some will charge around $1 per sample.  Sometimes it's worth it, and sometimes it's not.  Very rarely do I ever get so excited over a sample that I immediately go online to see about buying the full size.  Last night however, I was crazily searching the web trying to find where I can buy One Love Organics. 

I purchased their Discovery Kit for $3.95 late last week, and it came yesterday.  It comes with 5 single use samples of their line.  It says single use, but really I believe I'll be able to get at least 4 to 5 uses out of them.

It comes with a card that give an A.M and P.M. routine.  I shower at night so figured I may as well get started right away. 

The first step is the Skin Savior Waterless Beauty Balm.  It says to scoop a small amount of this citrusy smelling balm and apply it to dry skin using your fingertips, then wipe it off using the New Best Friend Skin Shammy.  I don't have a shammy (yet!) so I just used a wash cloth.  I was skeptical that this would take off any of my makeup, and was pleasantly surprised when I saw the white wash cloth was covered in makeup and whatever else was hiding out on my skin.

Next step is Easy Does It Foaming Cleanser.  This one is self explanatory.  It does say that you don't need to double cleanse every night, and can do it just once or twice a week as a "treat".

Third, tone.  Just splash some cold water on your face.

Next is the Love Springs Eternal Youth Preservation Serum. While your face is still wet smooth a couple drops of this over your face, neck, and the backs of your hands.  This has more of an earthy smell, reminded me of when I get a facial at the fancy spa, I love it!

After that you can use a tiny bit of Skin Savior if you feel like you need it.

I have to use a very light moisturizer at night or I wake up feeling like a greaseball.  This however, left my skin so soft and not greasy at all.  There was no trace of greasiness whatsoever. 

This morning I did part of the A.M. routine.  I didn't feel the need to cleanse again, so I skipped right to tone.  Next was Morning Glory Complexion Brightening Booster, again while face is still wet from toning.

After that, a small amount of Skin Savior.  I don't usually moisturize in the morning before putting my makeup on unless I know I'll be outside and need the SPF.  I just don't like the greasiness, even with a very light moisturizer.  This however just left my skin feeling smooth and wonderful.  It says you can also mix a bit of Skin Savior with your foundation, but I don't wear foundation so that wasn't needed.

The 5th product is Brand New Day Microderma Scrub and Masque.  I haven't used it yet, but it's a powder you mix with water for exfoliation, or honey (or yogurt) for a masque.  I usually do a good exfoliation once a week so I'll try this one out for sure.

Birchbox sells some OLO products, and I just got my 20% off anniversary code so I'll be buying something for sure.  OLO isn't cheap, but from what I can tell already, it's worth every penny. I even saw that some people use the Skin Savior with their Clarisonic, and I can imagine how wonderfully that would work.  I'm so excited about these products I'm going to hoard the Discovery Kits and hand them out to everyone I know!  I'm looking at buying the Essentials To Go travel kit, at $67 it'll hurt the bank, but it should last a good long time.

Monday, August 13, 2012

I'll trade you my string cheese for your brownie.

Remember in grade school when you would get something in your lunch that you didn’t want, so you’d try to trade it with your friend?  That was one of the best parts of lunch, until someone ended up with hepatitis and they outlawed it.  Awhile back I posted a picture of my sample drawer.  Remember this mess?
Well, it’s gotten even bigger, so much so that I had to abandon the drawer for a much larger storage box from Ikea.  It drove me crazy that I had all these products sitting around unused.  That’s a big ole box of money right there.  Granted I didn’t pay for most of it, but that’s beside the point.  That’s all changed though since I’ve found the world of trading. 
A few months back, I found when I was frantically trying to find out what was going to be in my June Birchbox.  And the answer is no, I can’t just wait and be surprised like everyone else.   The ladies on MUT are James Bond like in their spoiler hunting ways, I was home!  Besides all the spoilers, they have an entire part of the forum dedicated to trading.  My first trade was for a Fresh Sugar Rose lip treatment and Ada bronzer.  I sent her a perfume sample that I would never use, and a beauty balm that would spend its life in that box.  Next trade was another BB for an awesome lipstick and mascara.  Winner, winner, chicken dinner.
Trading is taking up a ridiculous amount of my time at this point.  Between looking at other’s trade lists to see if there’s anything I want, packaging, and going to the post office, my husband thinks I would be better off just buying the stuff I’m getting in trades.  Really though?  It’s a lot of fun, and I’m getting to message back and forth with some great girls who love this as much as I do. 
So from now on, when I get products I don’t care for in my Birchbox or Test Tube, it doesn’t even phase me.  Products I won’t use might be someone else’s HG.  To the trade list they go!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Online deals, get em while you can!

I just thought I'd do a quick post with some current online deals. 

The first is Urban Decay, they have some items more than 50% off, it's a good time to stock up on their vintage shadows.  Free shipping on orders over $50, and when you sign up for e-mails you get a 10% off code good for 2 weeks.

Next, Benefit is having a sale on quite a few of their value sets among other products including Moon Beam.  Use the code SALETIME and get free shipping.

As I mentioned before, Tarte has that awesome vanity set for $45, (I received mine and it really is a great buy) and they also have other items in their sale section.  Free shipping with a $40 order.

Sephora is also making some room for the Fall products, you can stock up here on perfume, value sets, brushes and all sorts of items.  Free shipping on $50 orders, and always 3 free samples.  Be sure to check out the weekly specials for other freebies and deals.

Happy shopping!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Finally professing my love of the Clarisonic Mia

I bought the Clarisonic Mia about 2 months ago, and wanted to use it for a bit to see if it made a difference before I did a review on it. I purchased it from the Skin Store when they were having 20% off the entire site (they have this often so keep an eye out, there's currently 15% off).  I went with the Mia instead of the Mia 2 since I didn't really think the different speeds would make a difference for me.

Let me start out by saying that I'm really lucky that I have pretty good skin.  A break out for me is more than 1 pimple and I have no need for foundation, although I do enjoy the Jouer LMT for a nice glow every once in awhile.  That being said I didn't know how much of a difference the Mia would really make for me. 

I went with the coral color, which I thought was bright and fun.  The Skin Store had a lot more color variations than Ulta.

I've been using it with Purity, which has been my go to face wash lately, and only use the Mia at night.  While I haven't noticed a difference in my skin so much, I have noticed that I don't need to use a scrub as often.  I get pretty sweaty when I workout and by the end of the week my pores would usually be huge, so I use LUSH Ocean Salt to get that in check.  I find myself reaching for the Ocean Salt less often.  I also seem to notice that my moisturizer doesn't seem to sit on top of my skin, and is actually seems to do it's job better.  For me, the real test will be in the winter when I get very, very dry. 

Overall, I really like the Mia and will continue to use it.  Some people who use it have a "purge" stage where it brings all the gunk to the surface and makes them break out more.  I didn't have anything like that, but like I said, I'm pretty lucky with my skin.

Interested in buying the Mia?  Here's the link to the Skin Store where you can currently save 15% and get free shipping.

Monday, August 6, 2012

How to get the most out of your Birchbox

I read a lot of blogs and message boards, and I see how many people don't take full advantage of the perks of a Birchbox subscription.  Birchbox is a monthly subscription service.  For $10 a month you get a box of 4 or 5 deluxe size beauty samples.  They range from haircare, to skincare, to makeup, usually with a lifestyle item which may be a protein bar, earbuds, laundry soap etc.  Often times you'll get a full size item!  I've gotten full size lip gloss, lipstick, bronzer, and eyeliner.  The value of my box is always more than the $10 that I pay, sometimes being upwards of $30.

First, there is a waitlist.  When you sign up you're put on a waitlist which can be up to a month.  Once you get your e-mail that you can join, you have 72 hours to claim your subscription.  The way to get around this is with a gift subscription.  I've gifted people a 3 month sub, where the first box ships immediately, then after they receive the 3rd box, they can sign up without waiting.

There are a variety of boxes sent each month.  For July, there were 31.  They say the box you get depends somewhat upon how you filled out your profile.  I don't know how accurate this is, but I do know that out of myself and 4 or 5 of my friends, we never get a duplicate box between us.

The boxes ship around the 10th of every month.  They've been known to start as early as the 4th, but it's generally closer to the 10th.  Don't panic if your box hasn't shipped by the 10th, I promise it's coming.

The shop.  
Birchbox has a shop on their site that has all the full size products from that months box. (These items ship for free within the month).  They also have quite a few other items in different categories.  If you get something in your box that you fall in love with, you can buy the full size from Birchbox.

One of the things that drives me crazy is people not taking advantage of the points system.  Every 100 points you earn is equal to $10 to spend in the shop.  You earn points a few different ways.  First, if you make a purchase in the shop, you earn 1 point for every dollar spent.  Next, leaving feedback.  When you get your box each month, log into your account and click on box.  Then click on each item in your box.  When you go to the item you'll see a button that says leave feedback.  Do this and get 10 points for each item.  If you get a box with 7 items, that's 70 points or essentially  a $7 return on your box.  Next, referrals.  Every referral earns you 50 points, so if you know someone who wants to join, give them your referral link, or have them contact BB once they join and tell them you referred them.

Birchbox is also known for sending out discounts in e-mails. 20% off after your first box, then every 3 months after, sometimes 25% off if you spend so much, or extra points for spending a certain amount, so make sure you read those e-mails!

When you redeem points in the shop, realize that even though you earn them 10 at a time, or 1 for every $1, you redeem them 100 at a time.  If you have an item that is $12, and you have 200 points, they're not going to take 120 points, they're going to take the entire 200.  You're better off finding something small to get you closer to the $20 mark or you're just throwing away those points!

Interested in joining Birchbox?  You can sign up here.


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Sale, sale, sale!!

I came across a really great deal from Tarte and had to share it with you all.  If you've never used any Tarte cosmetics, you're missing out!  Tarte is a line of natural makeup that has some serious staying power.  They're paraben, mineral oil, phthalate, synthetic fragrance, and sls free.  Makeup that's good for your skin?  Sign me up!  When I came across this deal, I couldn't pass it up.  Tarte's Amazonian Clay blush sells for $25 alone, and for only $45, this is what I got.

24 eyeshadows, a mascara, a lash enhancing primer, 2 Amazonian Clay blushes, a mineral powder bronzer, and an Amazonian clay shimmering powder.  Retail price? $505!  All this for only $45, this is about all you'll need!  Hurry, they won't last long.  You can get them from Tarte here.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Checking in

I know, I know, I'm a slacker.  I promised a post heavy week, then dropped off after Wednesday.  The truth is, I really enjoyed being on vacation, like really.  My days probably seemed boring to most, but I could have easily done it for another week.  Or two.  I would get up, workout, then spend the day relaxing, laying in the sun, or watching DVDs that I never get a chance to watch otherwise.  I cooked a lot, went to a few zumba classes and took naps.  It was my perfect week.
Jake liked having someone to nap with

  Friday was the exception, I spelt the day shopping with my sister in law, and boy did we shop.  I picked her up at 9:30 in the morning and it was a little after 8 when I deposited her back home.  We hit up the outlet mall a little over an hour away in Aurora, then the Crate and Barrel outlet, finishing up at Ikea.  We got some great deals, and even did a little but of early Christmas shopping. (I am by no means liking forward to winter, but I can't pass up a good deal either)  My deal of the day was a sweet Kate Spade purse for $78.  Gotta love outlet prices! 

I've been busy playing catch up at work, but I promise there are posts coming! Look for reviews on my Clarisonic Mia, and Benefit skincare coming soon!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

My Ulta haul

As I've mentioned before, I'm very lucky to have a friend who gifts me with Ulta Friends and Family coupons.  They usually come out every quarter, and I send them all over to my friends and family (like how that works?)  Her husband gets credit for people using them, so they're very generous with them.  The current discount days started yesterday, so I wasted no time heading to my local Ulta.  Here's what I bought on what I'm sure was only my first of many trips there this week:

First is the Pureology.
Pureology is the best thing I've ever done for my hair.It's expensive yes, but I can honestly say it's worth it.  That's Strengthening Control on the left, then Incharge, and Hydrate Shampoo.  It's all for color treated hair.  The hairspray isn't sticky or crunchy, and the shampoo leaves my hair super soft, not dry.  Regular price on these items are $9, $20, and $60.  That's a liter of shampoo, the smaller size is $28.

Next up, Redken Extreme Conditioner
I use this as a much cheaper alternative to Pureology.  I only use a tiny bit and it works wonders.  I'm not usually a fan of Redken, I always feel like it leaves a film behind on my hair which is why I only use about a dime size of this.  I use a purifying shampoo about once a week and it leaves my hair really dry, but if I follow it up with Extreme it feels just as soft as my regular shampoo.  Regular price is $33 for the liter.

I grabbed this shampoo just to try it because honestly, I liked the bottle.
Rusk Sensories Wellness shampoo in "heal".  Claims to restore and strengthen damaged, dry hair.  It has organic ingredients, and is 100% harsh chemical free.  It smells nice, but if I don't like it I have no problem returning it. $19.95 for 13.5oz.

I've been looking for a moisturizer with spf, so in comes Benefit.
The girl told me she really likes the Triple Performing Facial Emulsion with spf 15.  Instead of buying the full size at $28, I walked away with this cute little sampler of their skincare line.  I love most everything Benefit so I figured I couldn't go wrong.  I'm sure I'll go back this week to buy the full size though, it's really light and has a nice scent.  $24 for the b.right sample set.

I love Philosophy 3-in1's, when I saw this new set it was right up my alley.
Sweet Sips has 3 6oz bottles in it.  The scents are heavenly, orange pineapple smoothie, bananas foster ice cream, and cookies and cream. I always have a few of these on hand not only for myself to use, but if I need something extra to throw in a gift.  $25 for this set.

So, if we're keeping track my full price total would have been $190.95.  However, the Redken liters are on sale for $14.99, the Pureology shampoo was 20% off, and the Incharge was marked down to $14.99.  Add to that my 20% my entire purchase coupon, and $17 worth of rewards points for being a Platinum rewards member and I walked out at $116 tax included.  I'd say that's not bad since I won't have to buy shampoo or conditioner for about a year.  I'm planning on checking out the other store in my area later in the week for fun stuff like nail polish and makeup because a girl can never have enough right?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Happy Birthday Mom

Today would have been my Mom's 60th birthday.  I try to imagine what she would have been like at 60.  Still beautiful I'm sure.  She always looked about 15 years younger than she actually was.  There were times she was out with my brother and I, who were both of age at the time mind you, and she would get carded.  She would laugh so hard that she wouldn't be able to get her license out of her wallet.  It was a shock every time, even though it happened often.  She had a great laugh too, and even though she was sick for so long, she was a more positive person than I could ever hope to be.  Those who were lucky enough to know her, all loved her.  It was impossible not to.  So happy birthday Mom, I miss you terribly and love you more each day.
My Mom at 16

July Birchbox

I admit, I've been a little MIA lately.  Work, and life have been busy.  I'm on vacation this week with virtually nothing to do, so expect a post heavy week.  I'm in complete relaxation mode.  Let's see if I can keep from going crazy of boredom by Weds.

I received my July Birchbox on Friday.  For those of you who have never heard of Birchbox, it's a $10 monthly beauty sample subscription service.  Like a magazine, they ship around the 10th of the month and you receive a box with 4 to 6 deluxe samples (somewhat) tailored to you.  Back to July's box.  This month BB partnered with Glamour Magazine to bring us the 5 senses of summer.  I'm not sure I agree with how BB matches each of these items with the senses, but that's ok.

There were 31 box variations that went out this month.  I received either 3, 10, or 30.  The only difference between those 3 was the color of the lip glaze, so I'm not positive on which one I got. Here's what was in my box:
  • Oscar de la Renta Live in Love perfume - Not bad, I had kept seeing that this was a "grandma" scent, but I didn't mind it. (This would be the smell sense)
  • Birchbox exclusive earbuds - These obviously aren't the best quality, but it's nice to have a spare pair.(Hear sense)
  • Larabar Uber Roasted Nut Roll - I'm not a huge fan of getting food in my box, but I like Lara Bars so no biggie. (Taste sense)
  • Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint in golden - I've posted before about how much I like this product.  The sample size will give me 3 or 4 uses and the color is right for me.(See sense)
  • Alterna Bamboo UV+ Color Protection Fade Proof Fluide - Wow that's a long name.  I have colored hair, so I'll probably give this a try.  Anything that can help my fake red from fading is a win in my book. (Feel sense)
  • Stila Lip Glaze in Action - The color is pretty, I'm not a big fan of lip glazes though.  I live by my Fresh Sugar Plum, so this will probably be given away.
All in all not a bad box, but not my favorite either.  I love Birchbox, they have a great point program so in a few months I'll be able to order a bunch of full size products pretty much for free.

Interested in Birchbox?  Get on the waitlist here.

Friday, July 6, 2012

My hoarding tendencies

I don't like clutter.  I don't have a lot of knick knacks, or things that need dusting.  I don't change my home decor depending on the seasons, because I don't want to store things.  Each year we put up less and less Christmas decorations because again, I don't want to store it.  If it were up to me, I would be fine without a tree too, but my husband isn't going for that.  This is a trait I inherited from my Mom and I'm thankful for it.  I don't have an emotional attachment to "things". 

For some reason though, I seem to hoard samples of beauty products.  It used to be contained to just one drawer, but that drawer is now barely closing.

It's moved on to a basket below, and a cabinet in the bathroom.  And this is before my July Birchbox, and New Beauty Test Tube,  not to mention I have samples on the way from Melvita and Mario Badescu.  I don't know why, but I rarely use any of the samples I receive.  I love the anticipation of getting them, but then they move on to the drawer never to be seen again, unless someone comes to stay with us, or a friend asks for something specific.  Maybe I should sell them in lots on ebay, or trade them on for something I will use.

In the mean time, anybody need anything?

And btw, those Boscia blotting papers?  Pointless.  I used 1 so there are 99 left in the packet.  The best blotting paper I've found is a Starbucks napkin and they're free.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Nailing It

Nail art seems to be quite the trend this summer.  Whether it be painted on or decals, I've seen all different designs.  I received the Sally Hansen Salon Effects in my Voxbox from Influenster.  While I won't use the laced up design, some of them are pretty cute, and seem easy to apply.

This tutorial, from The Beauty Department is a pretty subtle robin's egg look, and would be an easy DIY.  TBD has a ton of easy tutorials for nails, hair, and makeup.

The Tropical Sunset nail, pinned from here,  is a take on an ombre nail with a lovely palm tree on one nail.  I love this one!

What do you think about the single accent nail?  I think it depends, sometimes I like it, and sometimes I think it just looks goofy.  These two, pinned here, and here, I like.

However, these Winnie the Pooh nails, I think take it a little too far.

That's the great think though, there are so many different ways you can go with it!  I know that I would probably go to a salon to have anything like this though.  My left hand would be ok, but my right would be a disaster.

Oh, and by the way, I did start my bracelet making extravaganza last weekend.  I made 5 and though I did lose my patience a bit, it didn't go too bad.  No pics yet, I'm still working out the kinks.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Trying to occupy my mind

So, I've been a slacker lately.  Our summers are always crazy busy, and this one is no exception, but since it's so hot I just don't have any motivation.  Most years we may see a handful of days in the 90's, and that's usually in late July/August.  This year we hit 90 in May and have seen very little rain.  I know for people in TX, 90 is nothing, but up here we're not used to it.  Add to it 90% humidity and being outside is miserable.  I needed to find something to do to entertain myself, so as usual, in comes Pinterest.

I've been a member of Pinterest a little over a year, since it was in Beta mode.  I can proudly say I have done many of my pins, mostly with success.  I mainly use it for recipes, but have done a handful of DIY projects too.  We were at the farmer's market a few weeks ago and found a woman selling handmade jewelry.  I purchased a couple bracelets from her, which for me is unusual as I don't normally care for handmade jewelry.

Here's what I got (minus the blue braided one)

While I'm happy with them, and actually do get a lot of wear out of them, I think I paid $27 for the two of them.  So after disecting them to see how she did it, I decided that I can make my own for less money.  Off to Hobby Lobby I went last night, and $50 and a ton of supplies later I'm ready to begin my bracelet making.  Here are a few I pinned that I plan on trying out:

For the $50 I spent on supplies I figure I can probably make 100 or so bracelets.  I'll update after I make some to see if it's actually relaxing, or if I'm even more stressed out because I can't figure out the difference between an overhand knot, and a square knot.

Have a great week, and stay cool!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

50 shades of huh?

Let me start this by saying I read.  A lot.  In the winter when it's cold and dark here for 6 months I can easily read 3 or 4 books a week.  If I'm on the treadmill, I have a book in front of me.  Sitting out in the sun with the mister on, my Nook is in a plastic baggie.  (Why don't they make a waterproof cover for the Nook?)  The Twilight series?  Read them a few times.  Hunger Games?  Yep, loved them.  However, there's a series that's got everyone in a frenzy that I just refuse to read.  Yes, 50 Shades of Grey. 

A friend recently posted on facebook that he didn't know what was up with 50 Shades, but it seemed like every woman he comes across is in heat.  I have to agree with him that pretty much every friend I have that reads, (and some strangers I've come across) have been all worked up about it.  Now, I don't have a problem with the adult content, the main reason I can't bring myself to buy it is because it's based on a fan fiction of Edward and Bella from Twilight. 

If you're unfamiliar with fan fiction, there's an entire world out there of people who are fans of stories, Twilight for instance, and they'll write their own story, going off of the original, of how they'd like the story to progress.  Some of these, sadly, are better than the originals.  But hey, it's Twilight, that's not saying much.

So I'm supposed to read this book and not picture Kristin Stewart and Rob Pattinson with all their horrible acting as the main characters?  That's probably not possible.  (By the way, they're not at all how I pictured Edward and Bella when reading the books, but since the movies came out I can't help it.)

What about you?  Are you on the 50 Shades train?  Am I really missing out on some great literary works?  Or is it just for the fantasy aspect?

As an aside, if you enjoy reading, and like a good laugh please check out NYT best selling author Jen Lancaster.  Her memoirs take her from fab, to almost destitute, and back to fab with everything in between.  She's extremely relatable and easily my favorite author.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

June Birchbox

I finally received my June Birchbox on Friday!  If you're new to Birchbox, it's a $10 monthly sample subscription.  Each month you get a box with 4 or 5 deluxe beauty samples in the mail.  They also have a great points system, you can rack up the points easily and get free products on the BB website.  I can never wait for it to show up without spoiling the surprise though.

This was my 4th month, and the first time it was just an ok box.

First up, The Balm Stainiac in Beauty Queen.

It's a gel based lip and cheek stain.  I don't care to use cheek stains, I can never get them to blend well before they dry.  This is a really nice lip stain though, as long as I use a something on top of it to moisturize, as it tends to dry my lips out.

Next, Oribe shampoo and conditioner for beautiful color.

The thing about this, is BB had a policy of no foil packets.  They said their samples would always be big enough to get multiple uses out of.  I'll try this, but it's not something I would buy.

Melvita Rose Water to refresh and hydrate summer skin.

I'll keep this in the fridge to use after spending time outside.

Joya Âmes Sœurs Parfum - A Scent of Soulmates

I've gotten perfume every month, and this was the first time I didn't like it.  I enjoy fruity scents, and this one is too musky for me.

Dr. Jart Premium Beauty Balm with spf 45
I'll try this, but I don't usually wear all over face makeup, especially in the summer, so it'll have to be one of those special occasion things.

Last is the Cynthia Rowley Band-Aids

I actually really like these, I saw the other day they sell them at Target for $2 a box so I may pick up more.

Interested in Birchbox?  Get on the waitlist here.