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.