Tuesday, August 13, 2013

So sorry.... I was on vacation?!

Maybe a Mental vacation?! No I was actually really on vacation with very little internet access. However, I have been home for a week now, so eek! I am so sorry?! Please forgive me!  However on a positive note, since it has been awhile since I posted I have a the August Birch Box to discuss! However, before we get into August let's go back to July's Birch Box!  I shared with you in a previous post all that was included in it. My thoughts?! I LOVED!!!! the blush by the Balm!!! It was such a great color and held up all day long! A little did go a long way just as they had warned. My only complaint was that I wish there was more! I think I will be purchasing this in the near future! The under eye cream by Benefit is still a favorite and really brightened up my dark circles. I had already been using this, so it was just a bonus to have a sample of it. The clips were just adorable and came in handy for pinning my bangs back at the beach. My only dislike was probably the acne cream. I found that it irritated my skin and actually caused me to break out more. The last item was the repair spray for hair and I just have not gotten around to using it as of yet.

This month's Birch box has some fun items and a few which left me saying "meh." The first is an exfoliating body wash by Whish! It smells super yummy and has coconut oil in it. I love coconut oil! Can't wait to use! Next is a heat activated shaping spray by KMS California. It claims to hold hair in place and protect against heat damage. A fun surprise was Stila all day wear liquid lipstick! It's in a bright red color called Beso. I imagine I will try this one out closer to the holidays or for a special occasion. It's a bit bright for every day use for me. The last two items that didn't excite me all that much was a small sample of a mattifying gel. I already use a primer and moisturizer, so I guess I am just not looking for another item to put on.  Then there was one "swipe" of Whish's Hair Inhibiting Deodorant. It's a little wipe you can throw in your bag to use during the day and is suppose to slow hair growth.  I don't know about you, but deodorant just doesn't get me excited! :)  You can check out more about these items here: Birchbox also sign up if you are interested.

Well before I head out I did want to share one freebie I received today. I had been encouraged by a friend to check out Bio true contact solution. My eyes have been horribly dry this summer. I headed over to their website and saw you could sign up for a free sample, so I said "hey! I love samples!" and signed up. I received a 4 fl oz bottle along with a coupon today!!  Worth checking out!  Well have a great Tuesday!!! :)

Monday, July 22, 2013

A Monday full of Mini's!

Happy Monday! And hopefully happy birthday to the new royal baby! I don't know if you have been as excited as I have about the royal birth, but I am just dying to know what it is and the name! My husband even woke me up this morning saying "Wake up! Kate is in labor!", which totally confused me a bit (being half asleep and all!) since one of my good friends ( who happens to be named Katie) is expecting as well, but is not quite close to being due yet! I realized who he meant and well needless to say I have had CNN on all day waiting to hear the announcement!

Well, moving on... the mailman came today! ( who my mother affectionately calls hot man! and likes to tell me how jealous she is that we have such a good looking mailman :)  Well "hot man" delivered my first Birchbox!!! What is a Birchbox you may ask?! It is a wonderful idea for people who love to try new beauty products and who love travel and sample sizes (like me!). Basically you pay $10 a month and you receive a box in a mail once a month filled with various samples. Now this is the first one i have received and I was not disappointed at all!

First you get this adorable box with fun designs inside (super cute to reuse for a gift huh?! I love the bright pink tissue paper and zig zags!

Inside you find a card listing all the items you will find, what the product is for, as well as how much full size versions cost. You can then go to birchbox.com and purchase these if you like! So let me share what this month's (July) provided:

1. Benefit's  It's Potent! Eye Cream
Seeing this sample size cracked me up! I had just recently purchased a small sample size of this off ebay to try. I had seen some great reviews about it and wanted to try it myself before going ahead and buying a full size jar. It's basically a under eye cream brightener to help with dark circles and fine lines. I have had issues with this and thought I would give it a whirl! It's great! I put it on right under my makeup and I truly have noticed a difference (the husband even mentioned he did, so whoa! it must be working!). I plan to purchase the full size eventually, but will use up both of my sample sizes, so I can reuse them for travel. The little glass jars they come in are adorable!

2. Acne Control Treatment
It says its an overnight treatment with purifying salicylic acid. I will have to give it a try and report back!

3. Super Comb Prep & Protect (leave- in conditioner).
It says it helps strengthen and repairs "after too many weekend's in Rio" hair! Made me laugh! I am excited to give it a try next week, since I will be head to the lovely beaches of Maine!

4. the Balm cosmetics - InStain Long Wearing Powder Staining Blush. (Color - Swissdot)
It says its a long wearing blush from day to night. I will add it to my makeup routine tomorrow and see how it goes! Very small sample (like smaller than a stamp), but it does claim a very little bit goes a long way!

5. Birchbox Bobby Pins
Ah! These are adorable! They are heavy duty with a cute white and gray geometric patterns on them. You get a set of 2, but can buy a set of 6 on the website for $5.

Lastly, they threw in a card promoting Benefit's 15-hour primer, which I have heard is great! On the back you scratch off to see what additional two free samples you can get if you purchase the primer. It looks like some sort of bronzer and tint. Not sure if I will take up on this offer, since I like the primer I am currently using.

Well, that is it for today! I am off to deal with Target.com's customer service! Another damaged item received in 2 weeks of purchases! Hopefully, it's not "hot man's" fault! :)

Have a great day!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Decor without many dollars...

Well it's time to get back to blogging! This time around I have decided to not only focus on home design, but all the other areas of interest I have in my life! I enjoy so many different things (anyone who follows me on Pinterest can agree with that!), so why not have a blog on them all. I apologize ahead of time for the "randomness" this blog may have at times. :)

Anyway... my topic today is decorating your home, closet, and face without breaking the bank! Don't get me wrong, I love high end items and products. There are many that I am more than willingly to fork out the money for due to quality and loyalty. However, there are many times when I walk into a store and say wow! I love that lamp ( haha! Anchorman!), pillow, necklace, or ceramic bird, but I so do not love that price tag! That is usually when my husband lovingly consoles me and pushes me out of the store before I try to justify buying another ceramic bird. However, I have found that through some research and craftiness I can find similar items with the same feel or look for a lot less. Here are two of my recent finds and also some great places to check for great "look alikes."

West Elm- Honey Comb Vases: I was obsessed with these vases from the moment I got my West Elm Catalog in the mail! The prices ranged from $29 - $34 depending on size. While the prices are not incredibly horrible, I just could not justify spending that much on a single vase. Therefore I went on a hunt for something similar to satisfy my obsession. Along came Target and their Threshold line! It is different, but still has the honeycomb design and I love anything that is white ceramic. The prices range from $12 - $19, which is much better! (Also 5% off and free shipping if you have a Target card)
*** I am not sure if this is vase is still available at Target, but you may be able to find it in their clearance section.

J. Crew Accessories: I adore J. Crew!!! I have had a love affair with this store for years! Most of the time the quality is fantastic( but I have had a few burns here and there), so like any relationship it's not always perfect. They do have some great sales and promotions, so I do recommend waiting when purchasing full price items. They also offer discounts for students and teachers. However, while I will spend money on their clothing, it is their jewelry that I tend to stay away from. Their jewelry line is adorable, but the prices can be quite steep. Their outlet is a great alternative, but even then spending a $40 on costume jewelry is too much to me. Therefore I love checking out etsy.com for "J.crew inspired" jewelry. There is tons of independent sellers, with much more reasonable prices. I also love the idea of supporting small businesses. Another option would be to actually go with real vintage jewelry. From what I can tell J. Crew's styles have a lot of vintage influences, so you may find something quite similar at a vintage or consignment store, or even ebay.

Right- Crystal Flytrap Necklace ($98) J.Crew.com,  Left- Vintage Crystal Necklace on one of my lovely J. Crew loving bridesmaids (found through online vintage store, 1950's, less than $20), Personal photo

Lastly, another option would be checking Pinterest out for ideas on how to make it yourself! This is a site you are going to constantly hear about from me and I will be sure to add my projects I complete along the way. However for now here is a project I am looking forward to doing! It's a remake of the Eagan Multipanel large mirror, which currently goes for $699 right now at Pottery Barn!!! Yikes! It's gorgeous, but I don't think it's worth the price tag. However I found on pinterest a tutorial to make your own version for far far less! The pin takes you to the blog, theletterdcottage.net, which a site full of great DIY projects( Actual link to tutorial - http://theletteredcottage.net/eagan-mirror-tutorial/).  I will keep you posted on when me and the husband start this project :) 

So, those are just a couple ideas when it comes to decor for less. I am sure I will do more posts on this subject in the future. For now here are my tips....

1.) Do your research! Check for sales, see if the store offers promotions for teachers/students (hint hint most colleges don't put dates on their college id's ;), and check for outlets
2.) Still too expensive, see if you can find something similar at a better price. Check out different stores like Target, IKEA, etc (the make tons of similar looking items for much less),
3.) Look online- Etsy, Ebay, Craigslist, etc. Also check out sites like Groupon, Living Social, and Amazon Local for deals too!
4.) See if you can make it yourself! Even if your not too crafty, it can be a simple project!
 Example - Love white ceramic objects found at West Elm? Find any old item at a consignment shop and spray paint it white or any color of your choice! and of course check out Pinterest for ideas!!!!!
5.) If you can't live without it, then save up for it! Or sell something from a previous season you no longer use. I do this a lot with accessories on ebay and furniture items on craigslist. I use the profit I make towards a new projects or item.

So that is it for now! Feel free to share if there is anything you do to save when it comes to decor for the home or for yourself.

Have a wonderful start to the week!