Monday, May 30, 2016

Summer Beauty Favorites (Warm Weather Favorites)

Summer weather!  It's here! And with it comes a need for some new beauty must haves.  After all, warmer weather equals more fun in the sun and, unfortunately, more sweat on our pretty faces.  So here is my warm weather beauty survival guide. Check it out and give these products a try!

COVERGIRL truBlend Liquid Makeup
First off, let me just say COVERGIRL has been hitting home runs like it's nothing lately. This is not the same COVERGIRL we grew up with, ladies.  They have grown leaps and bounds to provide a large selection of innovative and quality products at affordable prices. CG has officially become my go-to drugstore makeup brand.

The truBlend Liquid Makeup is my NEW favorite foundation.  That's right.  It has replaced the 3-in-1 as my go-to.  The formula is a little more moisturizing than the 3-in-1 and the finish seems a bit smoother. And just as the name suggests, the color match is spot on.  (Just give the makeup a minute to oxidize after applying and you'll see its full effects.) And best of all, like the 3-in-1, it doesn't breakout my sensitive, acne prone skin.

It has been a long, long time since I've used a concealer stick regularly.  I usually prefer the liquid/wand application formulas but this FIXSTICK has changed that.  Coverage wise this stick does an awesome job.  I also don't have a problem blending it. Of course, the FIXSTICK works best with the truBlend line, but I've used it with other brands without a problem as well.

COVERGIRL trunaked Eyeliner Duo
This eyeliner is finally an affordable answer for those of us who LOVE the nude double eyeliner concept a certain upscale brand makes, but are not so in love with its upscale pricing.  This eyeliner easily blends when first applied, but once it's fully set, it stays put.  I love the neutral colors. Browns are a much more natural/soft alternative to the traditional black liner, making it a perfect summer must have.

COVERGIRL Colorlicious Oh Sugar! Vitamin Infused Lip Balm 
I've review this product before but I'm here to sing its praises once again.  This balm is moisturizing with a lot of pigment: Something you don't see often. The color is buildable and applies smoothly without any hassle. The Oh Sugar! balms are easily one of my favorite lip products ever.

Physicians Formula Super BB All-in-1 Beauty Balm Cream
You know those days when it's so hot you just "can't even" with a full face of makeup?  Putting on primer and foundation is just NOT happening but you still want some coverage to even out skin tone and disguise blemishes? This is where Physicians Formula Super BB Cream comes in.  I don't even apply this baby with a sponge or brush.  I simply squirt some of the cream into my hands and apply.  It's quick, easy, lightweight, and effective.  The only thing it's missing is sunscreen.  But, even that is an easy problem to fix.  I simply use my daily moisturizer (with SPF) before apply the BB Cream.  The finish of this cream is gorgeously natural.  And, of course, my skin doesn't freak out when I wear it.

MAC Versicolour Stain
One of the absolute BEST parts of summer beauty is the need for a pop of bright, vibrant color.  MAC's Versicolour stains provide this stunning color with a long lasting formula.  I find the Veriscolour line has a much more velvety feel than most stains.  They're not stiff or sticky and they don't dry out the lips.  Plus, unlike a lot of other stains, they apply easily and evenly with just one coat.  And you can't beat the color selection in this collection.  My favorites are "Truly Everlasting," "It's Neverending!," "Last Minute," and, for you daring beauties out there, "Long Distance Relationship."

Gillette Venus & Olay Razor
Warm weather brings short shorts, cute sun dresses, and swimwear. Unfortunately, that also means more shaving for most of us.  BUT with the Venus & Olay Razor shaving is so much easier. The razor's Olay moisture bars leave skin feeling smooth and soft without the extra hassle of buying and applying shave gel, body wash, or lotions.  Plus, they just smell so good!

Clairol Professional Shimmer Lights Shampoo
This one is for all of my fellow blondies.  We all know the mix of sun and water can turn even the slightest bit of blonde into a brassy yellow or even orange color.  The Shimmer Lights shampoo removes this unwanted brass and tones hair back down to bright, beautiful blonde.  I've used several purple shampoos and this one is by far the most effective. (I've even used expensive salon brands, guys! And this one just gets the job done faster.) It does have a kind of hair dye scent when shampooing, however, that scent doesn't transfer over to hair.  It also doesn't dry out or ravage hair either. Because whats the point of having great color if you have just damaged your hair beyond repair to get it, right?

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel
Summer sandals equal the need to have toes looking pretty.  But who has the time or money to make it to the salon regularly to make sure those toesies are looking their best?  Not me. This is why I love Sally Hansen's Miracle Gel polishes.  They have the same smooth, streak-free look of a salon job but without all of the time it takes. Best of all, these long lasting gel polishes don't require an ultraviolet light.  Simply apply polish and set with the one of a kind top coat and you're ready to go.  They dry quickly and provide a flawless look.

This post is sponsored.  The thoughts and opinions are my own.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Shopping on a Budget : How to Do So with Ease

Being on a budget.  If we're all completely honest, it's not the most fun.  Staying within your spending limit can be difficult. But for most of us, it's a must. Now, as much as I wish I could sit here and teach you how to do some extreme coupon-ing magic...It's simply not my thing.  Not that I haven't tried it.  It just always seems way too complicated for me.  And seems to require a lot of time that I just don't have.  So, instead, I will share some methods that work for me.  And if anyone would be willing to teach me some extreme coupon-ing tricks...I wouldn't turn it down.


BST = Buy. Sell. Trade. These groups are all over Facebook.  When choosing a BST group, I look for ones that have clear, specific rules and admins that enforce them regularly.  Rules, in this case, protect both the buyers and sellers.  Here you can either make money by selling gently used items or you can buy items from other sellers at highly discounted rates.  Or both.  Women's, men's, and kid's clothes can all be found in these groups.  Along with toys, books, baby gear, and pretty much anything you can think of.  Also, items are usually described in detail.  Descriptions include "New With Tags," "New Without Tags," "Excellent Used Condition,"Very "Good Used Condition," and so on.  The only downside of BST is that you have to be very careful.  Scammers lurk in the BST groups but as long as you pay by invoice through PayPal, you (and your money) should be protected.

BST Tips

-Always screenshot the items you purchased, the comments of you claiming the items, and the original sale post.

-Request a DETAILED ITEMIZED PayPal invoice. Don't feel bad about asking for one. Invoices are not difficult or time consuming to create.  The invoice should state exactly what you are purchasing and how much you are paying for each item.  Example:  An invoice simply stating "women's clothing" is not an itemized invoice.  Instead, the invoice should list the items "NY&CO Medium Black dress top, EUC - $5, Nine West Size 8 Floral dress, EUC - $6, Calvin Klein Jeans Size 10, VGUC - $3". (And yes, I did once get Calvin Klein Jeans for $3 from a BST sale.)

- Never purchase through PM.  There isn't any accountability for either the seller or buying when purchasing through private message.  Instead, purchase through the buyer's post in the group.

- Making an offer for a lower price if the buyer hasn't stated "Open to Offers" is generally frowned upon.

- Read the group rules.  This is a big one.  No matter what group you enter, always read the rules before participating.


Just a portion of my Schoola purchase (under $16 shipped!)
If you've tried the BST groups and, for whatever reason, are not into it (I am personally addicted to BST.), online thrift shops like Schoola might be more your speed.  There is no need to fear being scammed. This site is completely legit and Schoola gives part of the money from purchases to schools across the United States.  The only downside of Schoola is that things aren't described as specifically as BST.  For example, the site marks items "blemished," "used," or "new with tags."  But, after I purchased and received a few used items, I noticed some wash wear that wasn't noticeable in the pictures online.  Would I buy from Schoola again? Definitely.  The clothing still looks nice and it is a great deal.  Plus if you use my referral link (here) you get an automatic $10 credit.   Also, if you wait a few hours after creating an account, they will usually email you a 50% off code.  I purchased several tops, a blazer, and a dress for just over $15 this way.  Plus, shipping is free!


Honey is a new Google extension for Chrome.  I haven't used this extension much yet, but it seems pretty handy. If you're like me, you are probably constantly looking up promo codes whenever  purchasing anything online.  Honey is supposed to compile all of the promo codes for the website you are shopping on and show them to you in the extension.  Why hasn't anyone else thought of this?  It also shows you what sites they have promo codes for.  And apparently you can even earn cash back bonuses for shopping at certain stores while using Honey.  As I said, I haven't used it much yet, but this is definitely something to keep an eye on. It sounds like a game-changer to me.


Pretty much everyone knows about Ebates.  It's simple --  Shop through their site and get cash back (and sometimes percentages off upfront). I use Ebates sporadically.  I don't do much  online shopping through stores (remember that whole BST addiction I got going on), so I don't use it as much as I did a few years ago.  But if you find yourself constantly shopping big retailers online, it may really pay off to use Ebates. 

Buying Through the Year

Whenever I find I've not only stayed within the budget, but have managed to save some extra money, I do one of two things: Save it or browse the clearance sections of my favorite online retailers.  Usually I look through the clearance sections of Target and Toys R Us.  If I see anything my son would love, I buy it at the low, low clearance price and stash it away for his birthday or Christmas. I do this throughout the entire year.  This way, when big gift events come up, I have gifts ready.  This not only means less stress, but also paying up to 90 percent less for gifts by buying ahead of time instead of paying full price when in a crunch.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

New Favorite Breakfast Treat with Einstein Bros. Bagels

I'll admit, breakfast is probably my least favorite meal of the day. (I'm a lunch gal.) Why? I just don't like many breakfast foods. Eggs? Pass. Sausage? No thanks. Breakfast burrito? Definitely not.

But one breakfast staple I am always down for? A nice, warm, soft, slightly chewy bagel. Add some fluffy cream cheese and a coffee and you have my favorite morning combination.

So, when I was made aware of Einstein Bros. Bagels' newest creation, the Twist N' Dip, I decided to try it. And I love the entire set up. The Twist N' Dip is a bagel lightly perforated for easy piece-pulling. It's a regular flavor bagel that comes with two schmear flavors of your choice.  (I chose Honey Almond and Garden Veggie.)  Of course the bagel and shmear are delicious --It's Einstein's. But being able to simply dip and alternate between shmear flavors was unexpectedly satisfying.

Plus if you follow this link you can get two Twist N' Dips for the price of one!  And while you're enjoying your delicious bagel, make sure to snap a pic (or take a video) to share on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and include the hashtag #TwistNDip for a chance win tons of fun prizes from Einstein's.  Now through July 31st.

Stop by your local store to enjoy this innovative breakfast treat.  Even this lunch gal can't resist an Einstein's bagel. 

This post is sponsored.  The thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

More Boy Dolls & Where to Get Them

Since my post on my boy doll search and find, I've received recommendations for boy dolls and boy doll companies  And quite honestly, I wouldn't have discovered some of these wonderful companies and boy doll options if I didn't have this blog so... I figured I'd share the information with you all! Spread the word so other mamas, dads, aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends, etc, can have a bit of an easier time finding what they're looking for.  Because let me tell you, finding a boy doll is a struggle right now.  So let's make it easier together, right? Right!

Here we go...

Boy Story

Boy Story dolls are different than anything I've ever seen.  They are a seriously ingenious mix of action figure and doll called "Action Dolls."  The dolls have jointed limbs perfect for active and pretend play.   Best of all, this product is created by two mamas. After feeling the boy doll search struggle, these creative and driven ladies decided to solve the problem -- by creating their own boy doll.  The product is still in the kickstarter phase but they are just $5,000 away from their goal.

Wonder Crew Dolls

Wonder Crew Dolls seem to be a mix of a baby doll and boy doll. These absolutely adorable dolls are made for both boys and girls and encourage adventure, friendship, and imagination. The founder is a mother, as well as a psychotherapist,who was frustrated by the messages young boys receive through their options for "gender appropriate" toys.

Get Ready Kids
 If you're looking for an affordable doll, Get Ready Kid may be the option for you. They're nothing fancy but they're cute nonetheless. And they're available at Walmart.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Affordable & DIY Mother's Day Gifts 2016

Mother's Day is coming up fast!  But if you're still without a gift for your mama or significant other, don't fret!  You still have plenty of time to put together something special for that wonderful mom in your life.  After all, what good is a gift guide if its too late to give anything on the guide, right?  Take a look at the list below and feel free to leave me your favorite affordable/DIY gift ideas in the comments.


Gift Ideas

Time to Herself
If you're looking for that perfect something for a mom of young children, TIME is most likely the best gift you can give her.  And, monetarily, it doesn't cost you much.  Give mom a day free of cooking, cleaning, and child wrangling to relax.  Give her time to take care of herself.  Whether that means going out for coffee with friends or laying in bed enjoying a Netflix binge. This means an entire day of no diaper changing, no time out giving, and definitely no house cleaning. Don't think this is "enough" of a gift?  I can only speak for myself, but I feel a full "day off" is more valuable than any piece of jewelry.

Flowers with Bloomsy Box
 Flower delivery is expensive, am I right?  But, as it turns out, it doesn't have to be.  Bloomsy Box is a flower subscription box that makes giving flowers affordable again.  You can either create a subscription for yourself or gift one, three, six, or twelve months of flower deliveries to a loved one.  Monthly gifts start at just $34.99.  If you choose to prepay for a three, six, or twelve-month gift, however, the price is discounted ( down to $31.48/month for the twelve-month subscription).

DIY Gift Basket

Now I know...Everyone suggests this kind of DIY gift and leaves it at that.  No details, no guidance, just "make it yourself".  I'm not about to leave you hanging.  I have a few DIY gift basket ideas below.

The Movie Loving Mama - Basket with a couple of DVDs, popcorn, candy, and/or a movie theater gift card

The Spa Lover - Basket with body wash, lotion, loofas, bubble bath, bath bombs (I recommend Lush), or bath salts.  You could even include a CD of Spa/Relaxation music and candles

The Fashionista - Accessories ( fashion jewelry, cute socks, hair accessories), store gift card.

The Makeup Maven - Drugstore nail polishes, eye shadows, nail care products, and cute makeup bags

The Coffee Addict - Cute coffee mugs (Etsy is a great place to find really unique ones), a bag of her favorite coffee, flavored coffee syrup, and/or a gift card to Starbucks/ Dunkin/ etc.

The Gardening Gal - Decorated terracotta pots (decorated yourself, by the kids, or store bought), cute gardening tools, gardening gloves, and/or DIY garden stone (found at Michael's)

The Chef -  A large strainer instead of a basket, cute spatulas, whisks, stirring/serving spoons, apron, oven mitts, and cookbook (store bought or make your own with the help of Pinterest and a photo/scrapbook)

The Wino - A couple of bottles of wine, corkscrew, cute wine glasses (You could even personalize them yourself if you're crafty.)

The Crafter: Scrap-booking paper, stickers, scissors, markers, colored pens, washi tape, etc.

The Sports Chick: Use a small cooler instead of a basket, hat or other accessories with her favorite team's colors or mascot, and game day snacks/beverages she likes.