Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Drugstore Darlings & Burt's Bees Grab bag

I know I usually veer towards the schmancy or handmade in my beauty choices, but I buy stuff at the drugstore or Target like everybody else, I've just gotten a lot pickier as I've been introduced to the larger world of beauty out there and I'm a sucker for the hunt for the new or unusual. Also because I wait for sales and special deals, I can often get stuff a lot cheaper, so if I can get something chi chi for the same price as a drugstore item, why not? So what are some items that I LURVE that you can get at your corner emporium?

Pantene Fine Hair Solutions Flat To Volume conditioner
Dang! It's crazy cheap on Amazon! Oh, sorry- got distracted there.....
So yeah- anyway......  I have baby fine hair and lots of it and I have the hardest time finding a conditioner that doesn't weigh it down or make it stringy. I have used conditioners that were 20 times more expensive that didn't give the results that this stuff does. It tames my flyaways, smooths split ends and most important of all it gives me tons of volume! I'm so used to my hair just sitting flat on my noggin and after using this conditioner it actually has spring to it! I love the smell, too and The Husband likes to nuzzle my head after I've used this. He says it makes my hair smell wonderful and makes it really soft.

Olay Total Effects 7 in 1 Advanced Anti Aging Body Wash
This stuff feels downright decadent Perfect for the winter months, it's thick, luxurious formula really penetrates and leaves the skin feeling incredibly soft. It doesn't have a detergent feel that makes your skin feel tight after using it, the skin feels almost plumped up. It's extremely concentrated, so a little goes a long way, especially if you use it with a bath pouf. It smells like a boutique brand too!

Cover Girl Clean Sensitive Skin Pressed Powder (Ivory)
I keep trying more expensive brands of pressed powder and I keep coming back to my old standby. Yes, the new compact style is more difficult to open, but it also doesn't fly open in my purse and coat the bottom of it with cracked broken powder bits. I realize that pressed powder has fallen somewhat out of favor lately, but I still can't think of anything better to carry in my purse. Yes, blotting papers are great, but sometimes a girl's just GOTTA powder her nose. This doesn't clog my pores or irritate my sensitive, rosacea prone skin. Finding powders that don't look orangey on me is difficult, but their neutral ivory blends into my skin perfectly. I love the old school clean Noxema smell and it makes my pores practically disappear. I can even use it over bare skin for a natural but perfected look. Very finely milled, it makes your skin feel like silk.

all Dove Deodorant
I have YET to meet a Dove brand deo or antiperspirant that I didn't like. The Energizing is one of my favorites with a zippy, bright scent that says "good morning!" The Cool Essentials with cucumber is excellent for the summer and even The Husband will borrow it when we go camping. I try to go the natural route with my pits because of aluminum fears, but in the summertime in Texas? Forget about it. This stuff will keep you dry and fresh all day, no matter how hot and sweaty and stanky the rest of you gets. I run hot anyway, and when I tried the Secret Clinical Strength I somehow smelled like a wet dog. No such worries here.

Burt's Bees Avocado Hair Treatment makes my hair super shiny and silky. It's a pre-shampoo treatment. It's recommended to leave it on for at least five minutes and up to 20. What I usually do is comb it through my hair then leave it in while I do everything else- it's a great companion to leg shaving. If you have split ends, this stuff is great for smoothing them out and in the winter it helps to keep flyaways at bay. When I've tried to do homemade avocado treatments, it always made my hair feel clumpy and weighed down, but this has the exact opposite effect, my hair is bouncy and shiny and full of body. Right now Burt's Bees has a free Fall Sample Grab Bag, too!

Fall Sample Grab Bag ($34 value) FREE with a purchase of $30 or more at BurtsBees.com!

Avocado Butter Pre-Shampoo Hair Treatment Avocado Butter Pre-Shampoo Hair Treatment
Rich. Buttery. And born to be a beauty. We use Avocado Oil in our pre-wash hair treatment to deliver essential moisture while Olive and Almond Oil, Rosemary and Nettle Extracts help give your hair a beautifully glossy shine. Gives glossy shine with Olive and Almond Oil, Rosemary and Nettle Moisturizes with Avocado Oil SLS-free

Friday, October 26, 2012

iMPress Nails and their IMPRESSIVE customer service

Okay, I tried an iMpress manicure for the first time the day of my cousin's wedding. I was horrified by the seeming lack of quality and was particularly disappointed since I'd always really liked the brand. I contacted their customer service department to complain and when I described the problems I'd had with them, the representative said that it sounded like a defect in that batch and offered to send me a replacement.

They sent me two sets and lo and behold! My first ones obviously WERE defective because I am now ADDICTED to these things! They look like a fancy pants expensive gel manicure for 1/5 the price and they last waaaay longer than the advertised week. There's enough to replace any that come off, so with 1 or 2 replacements they generally last almost 2 weeks on me, and I use my hands CONSTANTLY at work.

One of the reasons I always shied away from getting a salon gel manicure was that the idea of wearing the same color for a month really turned me off, so these are just the right combo of long wearing without wearing out their welcome. Every time I wear these I get compliments and I've turned a bunch of my girlfriends and co-workers onto them. Super fast, easy to use and indistinguishable from a salon manicure. I also love that they are a perfect length- no tacky ass dragon lady nails here!

The video shows my original, faulty set and is followed by my mea culpa showing my replacement manicure. 

You let me down.....

For me, one of the worst things in the world (relatively speaking of course, world hunger and unrest in the Middle East are technically much more awful...) is when a brand that you love and expect great things from lets ya down. There are certain companies that I have just come to assume can do no wrong, so it's a glass of ice water in the face when I am proven wrong.

My hall of shame sad face currently goes to:

(insert drumroll here)

In third place- Lauren Brooke Cosmetiques Organic Sweet Chai Lip Scrub 

I think if I'd never used a lip scrub before I wouldn't have felt so let down but their 
"exclusive botanical lipid infusion"
left my lips coated in a thick waxy residue that I found myself actually rubbing off with a towel because it bugged me so much. After about a week it also developed this creepy milky looking liquid layer on top. I realize it's organic ingredients, but it shouldn't go south in a WEEK, right? If it requires refrigeration it should say so on the packaging. It's a shame, because I loved the unique chai scent and I'm a regular user of lip scrubs. 

What do I recommend instead? 
2 YEARS ago I wrote the following review:

The first thing before glopping some gloop on your kisser is to make sure your lips don't have scraggly flakes and peels to make you look like you have leprosy of the mouth. For that purpose, I love using Laura Geller Lip Strip Cooling Sugar Scrub, which is a sweet and cooling lip scrub that removes dead and chapped skin while also being soothing and hydrating. It tastes great, is quick and easy to use, and a little goes a long way. I have a this one jar that I've been using for months and I can tell I'll be able to get many many months more out of it. 
Two years later and I still use this stuff religiously.

Laura Geller Lip Strip Laura Geller Lip Strip
What is it: A cooling sugar lip scrub. Who is it for: Suitable for all skin tones and types. Why is it different: This delicious formula blends cosmetic quality Brazilian sugar, a natural and mild exfoliant that smoothes and soothes, with peppermint and spearmint oils, which provide an invigorating, cooling sensation without irritation, in a creamy base. Loaded with lubricating butters, this soothing and effective treatment will help to smooth away dry, flaky skin on lips. Plus, it's so natural, you can actually lick it off! How do I use it: Apply to dry lips, rubbing gently with fingertips to loosen the dry skin, then rinse off with a splash of water or a washcloth. From Laura Geller.

In second place :
Ginger People Energizing Face Cleanser
  I love the other products in the GO Ginger Energizing line, and I'm boffo for ginger products in general. Revitalizing and helps to perk up sluggish cell turnover, plus the smell drives me wild. The problem?
"Ginger People GO Ginger Face Cleanser is a non-drying formula"
I say bull hockey. I DO have somewhat sensitive skin, but this dried my skin out so badly that I wanted to actually claw at my face. I have never ran so fast to put on moisturizer in my life. I actually had to use a soothing balm on my skin because this actually made it ITCHY. Total fail. 

Instead I recommend:
Weleda Almond Soothing Cleansing Lotion 
STEP 1 - Almond Soothing Cleansing Lotion
Yes, I know, another Weleda product. What can I say? Creamy, hypoallergenic, organic and deeply hydrating. It gets your skin incredibly clean without making it feel like the surface of your face has been strip mined. If you go to Vitacost THROUGH THIS LINK you'll get a $10 credit, which would let you get the full sized cleanser for about $3.00. (regular price on this is about $19, but Vitacost sells at deep discounts.) 

And the dubious first place goes to 
Korres Body Butter in Fig

It smells like grave dirt. Seriously. The first time I used this before relaxing for the night, my husband thought that our dog Duke had been rolling in something foul and kicked him outside until he realized it was ME. No bueno.

Too bad, because I have a giant tube of it. Definitely a case of blindly trusting a brand I adore! Instead I recommend the exact same product but in guava. The body butter itself is so rich and luxurious that it's downright decadent. Thick with shea butter and with an almond/avocado/sunflower oil blend, it hydrates even the driest skin but isn't at all greasy. You've got to really rub it in but it absorbs into the skin leaving it feeling plump and sated. The guava isn't a super sweet fake fragrance smell, it's an earthy fruity smell that's light and a little sexy. If you want a layered scent, they have matching shower gels that are excellent for sensitive skin. This stuff is ideal for winter use and will even hydrate knees and elbows!
Korres Body Butters Guava Mini 1.69 oz

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

$10 Gift card to No More Rack

Click here to claim

No More Rack is a discount flash shopping site with some crazy deals. I've gotten quite a few things from them and have been really happy with their service.

The one that's blowing my mind right now?

MID 9" Google Android 4.0 OS 1.2Ghz Tablet PC Capacitive Multi-Touch 8GB Wifi USB w/ Free Carrying Case  $98


 This $255 flat iron is only $45

 This coat retails for $98 and they have it for $25

Amending my anti Bath & Body Works rant (but still loving Farm Hussy the mostest)

Rainkissed Leaves Triple Moisture Body Cream - Signature Collection - Bath & Body Works
I had previously gone off on a tangent about deciding that Bath & Body Works sucked, but after some quiet deliberation and getting back on my meds (I kid!) I realized that I was perhaps being a bit harsh.

I still stand by my complaint that the regular lotion formula has gotten really sticky. Like, REALLY sticky- hands making peeling apart noise sticky. Ew. Now the body CREAM is great. Rich thick and smooth- it's the LOTION that is all watery and sticky. I don't remember it always being that way, they must have changed the formula. Why do companies always have to mess with a good thing? It seems like the actual product has gotten a lot cheaper; not moneywise but as far as quality goes. Getting too big for their britches, maybe? Seems that when companies get too big and popular they quit caring about quality.

Which brings me to my second complaint: the scents. B&BW used to be much more sophisticated. Now even the darker scents still smell overly sweet, flowery and cloying. Suddenly every woman in America wants to smell like a 14 year old girl? I really wish they'd put some variety back into their scents instead of making everything an interchangeable lollipop. The first time I used Forever Sunshine shower gel (I got it as a gift so I didn't smell it first) it was so overpowering that it made me gag and my husband made me leave the bathroom door open until the smell dissipated. I then had to promise to never use it in the mornings because he said he just couldn't handle that much overly sweet smell first thing in the morning. 

So I've been spoiled by a brand with a higher quality product, more scent variety (even sweet choices) and the knowledge that a real person who cares about making you happy is behind the label. Farm Hussy is my lotion GO TO. I rave about them constantly, I know, but they deserve it. A really awesome way to try them out is the Recession Special. Only $12!

The bath scrubs are UH-MAZING, your skin will feel like velvet afterwards. And the lotions? Prrrrrrrrrr. Oh, and the spray? Well, suffice it to say, I have yet to meet a Farm Hussy product I didn't love. Seriously, I cannot recommend them enough. (No I do not have Farm Hussy stock!) The scents are absolutely wonderful with a jaw dropping variety available. Instead of complaining (and who wants their spouse to complain about how they smell?) Matt LOVES when I use FH products. When we went camping recently he got into bed next to me and cuddled up on me and sniffed me and said "Mmmmm, you smell like Home" I had sprayed some Iowanna Smell Pretty in my hair. What better testament from a dude is there?
Iowanna and Pixie Page

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Trick Or Treat Grab Bag @ Philosophy

trick or treat mystery gift with $65 purchase! 10/25-10/31 Promo code 'mystery'

Some of my Phiosophy holiday favorites?  I am totally insane for their limited edition holiday 3 in 1 gels. This is when I totally stock up.

candy cane 3-in-1- may you find yourself twirling with cheer as you lather with candy cane shampoo, shower gel & bubble bath. the crisp, cooling peppermint scent invigorates your senses, as you enjoy a rich, foaming lather that cleanses and conditions from head to toe. the moisturising formula leaves skin and hair feeling ultra soft.

home for the holidays set - includes sparkling cranberry, have a cherry christmas, peppermint bark and cinnamon buns shampoo, showergel and bubble baths 4 oz. and high-gloss, high flavor lip shines 0.5oz.

cranberry orange spritzer 3-in-1 cleansing gel feel your spirit bubble over with joy as you cleanse skin and hair with cranberry orange spritzer shampoo, shower gel & bubble bath.

Get rid of that cellulite... With Coffee Grounds!...

Cellulite Be Gone Solution

1. Warm 1/2 cup caffeinated coffee grounds with 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil in the microwave for 10 seconds.
2. Standing over newspaper, smear the mixture over cellulite spots, then wrap in plastic wrap. Remove plastic after 20 minutes.
3. Repeat this 2-3 times a week for 6 weeks for best results and see your cellulite disappear!

So you wanna know how much I loves yous guys? I am gonna be your guinea pig. I got this recipe from a natural beauty site, and I tend to think it might be true. The main ingredient in most cellulite creams and gels is none other than caffeine, so if I can use the hubby's trash instead of a $100 gel, then YEE-HA!!!!! 

I will keep you updated, right down to taking pictures of my grody cellulite. So not only am I a guinea pig, but I will also be publicly humiliating myself for your benefit. Don't say I never did nuthin fer ya!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Weleda Iris Day & Night Creams- Husband Approved & $10 Vitacost credit

Whenever we go camping, it always takes it's toll on our skin. I don't have too hard a time getting back to normal, but The Husband generally refuses to actually DO anything to repair his skin until he's all flaky and scaly and whiny and ready to accept my help. He tried using his beloved aloe vera gel, but I finally convinced him that the gel alone just wasn't going to do the trick and to trust me.

My regular readers or You Tube viewers know that I am a huge Weleda fan. Weleda, after the Celtic goddess of wisdom and healing, has a really interesting history, which you can read about HERE

I'd previously used the Iris day and night lotions and thought they'd be just right for him. The only scent is a light herbal scent that dissipates quickly. They are also fast absorbing. They're both light lotions that hydrate beautifully without being too thick, greasy or heavy. He's always concerned that using an actual moisturizer will be too much for his oily skin, despite my protestations to the contrary, so I knew that the lightness of this would soothe his dry itchy skin without making him feel all oily. This was the perfect balance for him! He used the pair for a few days and was good as new! What really blew MY mind though? He didn't give me back the tubes when he got his skin back to normal. Nope. He kept them and now carries them around in his big backpack that he carries everywhere. At night I see him applying the Iris night cream before bed. Maybe I'll get him to take care of his skin on a regular basis yet! Never thought I'd see the day, but apparently Weleda is good enough to turn my hubby into a metrosexual.... 

If you'd like to try these out, you can get $10 off your first purchase at Vitacost THROUGH THIS LINK so they'd be like practically nuthin since their prices are vastly discounted off of the normal retail to begin with. If I remember correctly they charge almost nothing for shipping. 

Weleda Hydrating Day Cream Iris
23% off
Retail price: $20.00
Vitacost Price: $15.34

Weleda Night Cream Iris
18% off
Retail price: $21.00
Vitacost Price: $17.11

Weleda Moisture Cream Iris
31% off
Retail price: $20.00
Vitacost Price: $13.61

Skin Care-Iris Hydrating Facial Lotion - Weleda - 1 oz - Cream

Skin Care-Iris Hydrating Facial Lotion - Weleda - 1 oz - Cream

Iris Hydrating Facial Lotion
moisturizes and balances
Oily to combination skin gets moisture regulated into a healthy balance with this hydrating facial lotion. Its a light, fast-absorbing cream that regulates your natural moisture balance and provides long-lasting protection against drying out.
Biodynamic iris root extract maintains your skins natural moisture balance, leaving your skin feeling supple and smooth. Balanced skin is further enhanced by organic jojoba seed oil, a hydrating emollient that nourishes and softens your skin. Our soothing Biodynamic and organic calendula flower extract soothes skin and provides a protective antiseptic barrier. Your skin feels silky smooth and balanced, with perfectly regulated moisture that lasts all day.
Formerly called Iris Moisture Cream
Type: Anti-Aging Treaments

Skin Care-Iris Hydrating Night Cream - Weleda - 1 oz - Cream Skin Care-Iris Hydrating Night Cream - Weleda - 1 oz - Cream

Iris Hydrating Night Cream
Your skin is richly hydrated and balanced with this dreamy nighttime cream. Its a nourishing formula that strengthens the moisture-retention ability and balance of your skin during its natural nightly regenerative cycle.
Stimulate the balance of your natural moisture with Biodynamic iris root extract, which leaves your skin feeling supple and strong. For textured dryness that can develop during a stressful day, our soothing, emollient, organic shea butter deeply moisturizes and smoothes your skin. Organic chamomile flower extract calms minor inflammation. Wake up your sleeping beauty by regulating the natural functions and moisture of your skin. Relieve the stresses of your day with the restorative nourishment your skin needs at night. Natural, balanced beauty is a dream come true.
Type: Anti-Aging Treaments

Julep Brights & Code to get first box for a penny

I think these might have been my favorite Julep polishes to date, the colors were so happy and vibrant- sunshine in a bottle. I'm a big fan of their creme formulas in general as they have exceptional pigmentation and coverage- you'd never know that these are free of the chemicals normally found in commercial polishes to make them last longer.

I'm a big fan of Julep's new add on feature- if you like an item from one of the other Maven boxes, you can add it on for just $4.99 (the normal polish price is $14.99 a bottle). You can add up to 3 items, so for the price of one bottle of polish you can get an extra 3!


This time besides just polish, I received a bottle of their Daylight Defense hand cream. A wonderful creamy and rich (but fast absorbing) hand cream that protects the fragile skin on your hands. I know I have a hard remembering that things as simple as driving in the car take their toll on your hands, making them look like creepy old lady claws before their time. This is a really easy way to make sure you're protecting your skin since it's a faboo hand cream!
 (RETAIL $28)

Julep often throws in a little surprise extra, and this time it was a tube of their SPF moisturizing lip balm, also from their Daylight Defense line. I liked this stuff so much that I got a tube for a girlfriend of mine who's always on the lookout for lip balms that she actually LIKES. She used mine and tried to convince me to give her the whole tube, but I got her to hold off until I could get her her own! Another extremely delicate skin area that often gets overlooked, and unfortunately another area that is super easily damaged and makes you look twice your age. THE LIPS. I used this at the pool, and usually a few hours in the sun and my lips get very dry and start to peel. Not with this stuff! Has a super yummy vanilla mint flavor as well. (keep your eyes open, I'll be doing a giveaway soon that includes a tube of this wonder balm!)
(RETAIL $6.00)

So for $24.99 (which includes the cost of my add on polish) I received $78.97 in merchandise!

Not bad, eh? You can join through THIS LINK and use the code PENNY and get your first box for, well, a penny. Duh.