Sunday, March 27, 2011

New product alert: Bath & Body Works Signature Naturals

With all the promotional email I get from Bath & Body Works, you think they'd mention something about a new line?! I walked into the store today to find a giant display for Signature Naturals! Yes, Bath & Body Works has produced a line of products that is 95% natural!! This is GREAT news because while I love Bath & Body Works' scents, most of their body lotion has parabens in it, and others have mineral oil and petrolatum, which aren't a complete deal breaker but I'd rather avoid petrochemicals.

I asked the manager about it and he said the line just came in this week and they are one of the limited number of stores selected for a trial run - that means it does have the potential to not become a regular line. So of course I had to support their new venture and buy some! They were included in the buy-3-get-2-free or buy-2-get-1-free Signature Collection promotion, and I had a coupon for a free Signature Collection item with a $10 purchase or more. So I ended up getting 4 products (the photo above only shows 3 because I got 2 of the same kind) for the price of 2! They are the same price as the normal SC items, $10.50.

They have three scents available: Fresh Lemon - "a bright citrus blend of fresh hibiscus, sunkissed lemon and orange oil", Lotus Flower & Mango - "a beautiful blend of passionfruit, white lotus and bergamot oil", and White Tea & Lavender - "a fresh blend of tea leaves, lavender petals and mandarin oil". They have body lotion, body wash, and fragrance mist in each of the 3 scents.

Ingredients for the Fresh Lemon body wash (photo edited for readability)

 Ingredients for lemon body lotion:

Ingredients for White Tea & Lavender body lotion:

The good news is, even if these products aren't available at your local store, you can still buy them online. They're pretty hard to find on the website (why are they hiding it? It should be on the front page if they want it to succeed!) so here's a direct link to the collection: NEW! Signature Naturals Collection. The BOGO promotion is also running online, so you can take advantage of that as well as 20% off with the coupon code SPRING20 - you can also try code S113992 for 20% off and a free travel sized Signature Collection item (add item to cart before using code). Coupon codes are not stackable but you can still get 3% cash back with Ebates.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

New product alert: EOS hand cream and body lotion!

Love it or hate it, everyone's heard of eos (evolution of smooth) because of their cute little sphere lip balms. Although their lip balms aren't quite moisturizing enough for me, I've been thrilled at the brand's concept since they first came out - they're natural, organic, paraben-free, and have really cool packaging - not to mention they're downright cheap compared to other natural brands! For months they only had the lip balm and shave cream, but now they've introduced two new products to their line: hand cream and body lotion.

The products have been buzzed about in magazines for a while now, but it was only last week when I saw them for the first time in person!

The hand lotion is 97% natural, free of parabens, pthalates, lanolins and dyes. The above photo only shows the "nourish" hand lotion with blue packaging, but there is also a "refresh" one with green packaging that contains cucumber extract and is cucumber scented. It retails in their online shop for $3.99, but Walmart had it for $3.27.

The body lotion comes in three types: nourish (revitalizing care for normal to dry skin), active (refreshing care for normal to dry skin), boost (for dry to extra dry skin). They are also 90-97% natural, free of parabens, pthalates, lanolins and dyes.

The "boost" lotion contains both mineral oil and petrolatum (that is the 90% natural one), while the other two do not contain petrochemicals. All retail for $7.99 in their online shop, but were only $6.97 at Walmart.

I'm currently inundated with body lotions and it would be silly to buy any more before I use up some of what I have, so I'll wait until I can get a good deal on these before trying them - but I will definitely look forward to it!

DIY All-natural sugar scrub treatment for dry hands

Like a face scrub, hand scrubs are great for polishing away the rough spots and dead, dry skin, leaving your hands soft and smooth. After experiencing a hand scrub at a popular beauty store, I decided to see if I could whip something up myself using things I had in the kitchen.  This is an extremely simple way to get the luxurious feel and moisturizing benefits of an expensive hand treatment for merely pennies! Bonus: it's all natural!

  • Sugar - regular table sugar will do
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Coconut oil (if you have none, use any thick and creamy hand treatment or body butter)

Step one: Pour a little sugar in your hand. The amount doesn't really matter, but probably around half a teaspoon.

Step two: Pour enough olive oil on top of the sugar to cover it completely.

Step three: Rub hands together, scrubbing the palms, backs and in-between fingers for about one minute.

Step four: Rinse sugar off hands with warm water and gently pat dry.

Step five: Scoop out a dollop of coconut oil and massage into your hands until absorbed. Follow with cotton gloves, if you have them, to lock in the treatment and prevent the oils from rubbing off.

Your hands will never feel softer! As with any scrub, use only once or twice a week to avoid over-exfoliating your skin.

It's Caturday!

Meet Willow, our new foster kitty! See her giant belly? It's full of kittens! Everyone thought she was going to pop immediately, but it's been a week since we got her and no kittens yet! She's a real sweetheart and loves to be petted, brushed and have her belly rubbed. The Feral Care guys who caught her said she was a stray who roamed the neighborhood - I think she's too happy being in her first real home to want to share the attention with her kittens!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Get 2 Secret Rewards Cards at Victoria's Secret - today only!

I'm a little late to the party but better late than never - today only (until midnight EST) get 2 secret rewards cards with any $10+ purchase at Victoria's Secret! They're also running a "panty raid" promotion (use code 7PANTIES) where normally 5 for $25.50 panties are 7 for $25.50! Ebates will give you an additional 2% cash back. If you're an Angels Card holder, you can also get a free ruched-front bikini or thong in black or white with code SP1124217 (add to cart before using code).

I took advantage of the panty raid promotion and just bought some new undies - with the addition of 2 cards from today's order, I'll have a total of 4! The rewards cards are a mystery value of $10, $50, $100, or even $500 and are valid in the month of April, so I'll at least have $40 to spend! :)

Thanks to Pirates of the Supermarket for the heads-up about the double rewards promo!

Get 20% off e.l.f. orders and support Japan earthquake/tsunami relief!

The awesome budget-friendly makeup brand Eyeslipsface (more commonly known as e.l.f.) is having a wonderful promotion right now - use code JAPAN at checkout to score 20% off your order (max discount $100) and they will donate 5% of your total to Red Cross! Code is valid until April 10th. You can also get 4% cash back on all purchases when you click through Ebates!

Bath & Body Works' LUV BBW Club - March gift!

Bath & Body Works' March gift for their LUV BBW Club is two mini 1.6 oz candles! You were able to choose any scent available, of which there were so many I had trouble deciding! These are usually $3.50 each or 3 for $5 (although who would buy only 1 when you can get 3 for the price of less than 2?). They have a light, fresh fragrance, enough to scent a room without being overpowering.

To see prior months' free gifts, click here for my previous posts.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

It's Caturday!

It's a very exciting Caturday today! I just got word from the shelter I volunteer at that there are a few litters in need of fosters. We're getting a rescued pregnant momma cat who's going give birth in the next few days!

Last year in February during the Winter Olympics, we took on a momma cat with 4 newborn babies. We named the mom Yuki (Japanese for snow, since she arrived during a snowstorm) and the babies after Olympians competing - Bode, Shaun, Apolo, and Lindsay. They were only 3 days old when we got them, so we got to witness kitten development and raise them with love. They were adopted almost immediately after they were old enough to go to the shelter, Bode (the one with the nose stripe above) was adopted by my best friend and is a big healthy boy who just turned 1 year old!

Then in August of last year, we got 4-week old Truffles and Panini. They were mommy-less, their brother had died a few weeks prior, and they required a lot of special care. Panini was a sickly kitten and for a while we thought we'd lose her. We ended up adopting little Panini after returning them to the shelter because we loved her so much! Now she's strong and healthy (albeit a little tiny for her age) and Truffles, also adopted by a shelter volunteer, we hear is doing great too.

It's so exciting to have kittens again! As of now, I don't know what the mother cat looks like (we're getting her tonight around 6) or how many babies there will be, so it's going to be fun! We get to name them too, so I have to start thinking of good baby names! My family is particularly notorious for having crappy cat names.. like Ace (from "First Kitty") and Deuce ("Second Kitty", naturally) or Fluffy (most stereotypical boring cat name ever?) or Little Dude... just because we can't all decide on one name!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Free shipping + almond body butter at The Body Shop!

Spend $25 at The Body Shop and get free shipping and a free almond body butter today through Sunday the 20th! No coupon code is required! Also check out their specials page to see a bunch of promotions they have running now which include bundles of 3 items at a significantly reduced price.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

$15 for $35 worth of e.l.f. makeup on Groupon!

There's a Groupon deal today for e.l.f. makeup! It's $15 for $35 worth of products. The Groupon details their mineral makeup, but it doesn't say whether or not it excludes the rest of their lines. Either way, it's a HUGE discount! Click here to be taken directly to the deal if you're already a member, or sign up first through this link if you haven't yet joined.

If you're a Swagbucks member, click through their "daily deals" page (it doesn't have to be the exact deal you're clicking on, just any Groupon) to receive 160 Swagbucks for your purchase! Ebates members get 3.0% cash back.

But hurry - there's less than 5 hours left to purchase!

Monday, March 14, 2011

My heart goes out to Japan - and how you can help

I have been quite shaken up these past few days as the news of the earthquake in Japan has unfolded. Tokyo was the place I called home for 5 years of my life, and Japan and its culture is deeply part of who I am. Some of my very dearest friends and a family who is like a second family to me are living there. I was at the edge of my seat with worry until I found out everyone was safe.

Although Tokyo was outside of the immediate disaster area, they still have it bad. I've been hearing reports from my friends - the terror of the moment, being stuck somewhere unable to get home, not having heat or power or clean water, the constant aftershocks. Thankfully everyone I know is alright, but as horrible as what the people in Tokyo are going through, up north it's just unbelievable. To see the photos of the destruction there is heartwrenching, and I'm filled with sorrow when I think of the thousands of lives lost and the extent of the damage to the beautiful country.

As tragic as it is, it's still amazing to see people coming together and helping one another. Amidst the panic and chaos, people are acting calmly and civilized, taking care of others and trying to help in any way they can. I've heard stories of a woman that owns a bread store handing out free bread to people, or truck drivers offering to transport needed supplies. Major companies have been helping out, like the clothing brand Uniqlo donating funds and warm clothes to the disaster site, wireless provider Softbank making WiFi free to use, or Disney giving out food and drinks to those stranded at their Tokyo theme park.

I can only hope that the relief efforts are done quickly, that people get the medical attention and shelter they need as quickly as possible, and that the death toll doesn't rise any higher than it is.

How you can help:

  • Heart to Heart International is a trustworthy, efficient charity that guarantees 98% of your donation goes directly to the source, as they spend very little on overhead. They provide medical aid and other assistance to countries in need, and are one of the few organizations still helping Haiti a year after their disaster. This is who I chose to make my donation to.
  • I'm sure at this point everyone knows they can text REDCROSS to 90999 to have a $10 donation charged to your phone bill. Red Cross also has a donation site up here, but they only take credit cards and Amazon payments. You can also donate to American Red Cross through iTunes, just find the Red Cross button on the main page of the iTunes store.
  • PayPal has set up a convenient donation site here that allows you to choose one of several participating charities and pay through PayPal, which is completely reliable and trustworthy - 100% of your donation goes to the charity.
  • The Salvation Army has a blog post up detailing how you can donate directly to Salvation Army Japan. You can donate online or text JAPAN or QUAKE to 80888 to make a $10 donation through your phone.
  • Doctors Without Borders is supplying medical help in mobile clinics to currently inaccessible areas. You can donate on their website here.
If you live in the Los Angeles area, one of my friends is pulling together an art fundraiser in a few days, with 100% of the art sales going to Red Cross. They are looking for people to donate their artwork or volunteer at the event. Read more about the event here.

Those of you who are short on cash but use rewards sites like MyPoints or Swagbucks can use their accumulated points to make donations as well. MyPoints always has a Red Cross donation as an option (you can find it under "Charitable Donations") and Swagbucks has just opened a special donation page detailing how much your bucks are worth and where they'll be going. If you have a rewards credit card, check and see if you can use your points towards a charitable donation.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

30% all orders on Philosophy - today only!

The Philosophy Facebook birthday surprise is live! It's 30% off their entire site - pretty fantastic considering their stuff rarely goes on sale. Use code love4fans for your discount, good until midnight tonight EST!

It's Caturday!

This lovely little girl is one of the older kittens at PAWS, the animal shelter I volunteer at. She's such a sweetie and sat in my lap and purrrred while I brushed her long silky fur. Her littermates have all been adopted - I can't imagine why she hasn't been yet!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Philosophy birthday instant-win sweepstakes!

It's Philosophy's 15th birthday and they're having quite a few fun things going on. One of which is an instant-win game and sweepstakes. Enter every day until March 31st for a chance to win one of 5 daily product prizes (instant-win), or the grand prize of an iPad and $500 Philosophy gift card! Play philosophy's 15th birthday match game here!

There's also going to be a Facebook fan exclusive surprise tomorrow... The details will go live on their Facebook page tomorrow at 9am!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Bath & Body Works' new True Blue Spa promos

Bath and Body Works just re-vamped their True Blue Spa line! Right now there are several promotions going on for the newly improved products:

  • Buy 2 get 1 free - both online and in stores until March 10th
  • Free lip item (up to $8) with any full-sized True Blue purchase - print coupon here for in-store use, or use code LIP online - expires March 13th
  • Get a True Blue travel-sized sampler set for $10 (regularly $15) with any True Blue purchase - good through March 17th
  • Free shipping on a $50+ purchase with code SPRING50
Remember that Bath and Body Works doesn't allow stacking of online coupon codes, so you wouldn't be able to get the free lip product and the free shipping at the same time, but other promos that don't require a code are fair game!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sweet deals at Victoria's Secret!

I got a few mailings from Victoria's Secret lately that had some nice deals - one was from Pink Nation (free to join here!) that included a coupon to get a pair of their new style of panty for free! I also received an Angels Rewards Card for $10, I'm not sure if it's something all Angels cardholders got, or if I reached a certain point level on my card. Either way, I went in to see what I could get with it.

I was going to buy a fragrance mist for $8 but needed something extra to reach $10, and that's when I discovered the Secret Moments line. They were only 3/$15 (regularly $10-12 a piece) so that sold me immediately! I got fragrance mist and body cream in the Island Escape scent, which is "beachy coconut and sugarcane" - sooo yummy! I also got body lotion in the Girls' Night scent, which is "flirty peony and waterlily".

With any $10 purchase at VS now, you get a Secret Rewards Card, which is worth at least $10, but could be up to $500! I got two around Christmastime, and they both ended up being $10, but hey, ten free dollars is ten free dollars! :)

So after the free panty coupon and $10 card, I got everything pictured (normally over $42!) for only $5! Plus I have at least $10 more to spend with the Secret Reward Card, which is valid April 1st through the 30th.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

50% off goodies - Harmon shopping spree!

I was so excited to go to Harmon, it felt like I hadn't been in forever and I wanted to check out some new products! Well, a lot of what I was looking for wasn't in yet (or already sold out) but I did manage to score some good deals! Everything in the photo above (plus some things not shown) cost only $30.61 before tax!

I came armed with plenty of coupons - their $5 off $15 are the best, especially since you can use multiples! If you spend $30, you can get $10 off; if you spend $45, you can get $15 off, and so on! My total was a few bucks shy of $45, so I grabbed some candy and gum by the register to make it up to $45 so I could use a 3rd coupon. Cadbury eggs are delicious, but I can only manage one or two a season because they're so over-the-top sweet!

Here's a breakdown of everything I got - the final price in bold is the price after the $5 coupons were taken off (the receipt shows the discount spread over everything, which ends up to be around 33% off per item).

Physicians Formula Happy Booster bronzer - $11.19 - $1 on-product coupon - $6.86
Alpha Hydrox glycolic cream - $9.99 (no coupons) - $6.72
Revlon Grow Luscious Mascara - $6.79 - $1 off coupon from Sunday paper - $3.93
Maybelline Express Finish nail polish - $2.99 - $1 off coupon (from display in-store) - $1.33
Organix Coconut Milk Treatment - $6.99 - on clearance for $2.42 - $1.61
Organix Vanilla Silk styling cream - $6.99 - on clearance for $2.42 - $1.61
Lip Smacker Naturals - $1.99 - on sale for $0.99 - $0.66 (bought 2)

Cadbury eggs $0.89 - $0.59 (bought 2)
Dentyne gum $1.19 - $0.80 (bought 2)

Not shown:
Always Pantyliners (2 boxes) - $3.19 per box - $1 off 2 coupon from P&G paper insert - $1.79 a box
Conair comb - $1.29 - (no coupons) - $0.87

Total before discounts: $61.55
Total after discounts $30.61!

The best deals I think are the Organix products, as well as the Lip Smackers. I LOVE the Lip Smackers naturals!! They're on sale for $1 off (as well as ALL Bonne Bell products!) for the month of March, so I might have to go back and get some more while I can get them for so cheap.

They also have some adorable new products out, including the wet n wild lip/eye pallets and pastel nail polishes, and Maybelline eyeshadow and more in spring-y colors (the nail polish I got was from the new line). Some older wet n wild products were 10% off, and Maybelline eyeshadow singles/duos were clearanced to $2.70 or less - plus there was a stack of $1 off coupons on their displays!

Harmon also has $1 off Neutrogena Naturals with in-flier coupon (which is stackable with the $1 off coupon from a recent Sunday paper), but they hadn't gotten all the products in stock yet. I'll be returning before the end of the month to check if they do! There are many other coupons in the flier this month that have partner manufacturer's coupons, including Almay and Revlon, which could net you some good deals if you're in need of the products!

It's Caturday!

I'm a big fan of the Cheezburger Network, especially I Can Has Cheezburger and all their many lolcats. I submit photos of my cats to the Lolcat Builder once in a while, and a few years ago, one of my photos was captioned and made it to the main page. It's since been featured in their "How to Take Over Teh Wurld" book, and most recently, made into greeting cards! I received samples of the greeting cards in the mail this week - they are, of course, a "congrats on your wedding"-type card. They're great quality and so cute! I'm flattered and overjoyed that a silly little photo of mine has made it so far!

The cat in the picture is Little Dude, my grandma's old cat who we took care of for a while. He's unfortunately no longer with us, but now he lives on in Cheezburger merchandise!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Review: Physicians Formula Mineral Wear Correcting Powder

Physicians Formula Mineral Wear Talc-Free Mineral Correcting Powder

Price: MSRP $13.95. $11.99 at Harmon’s, with a $3-off peelie coupon on packaging. Physician’s Formula was also on sale at Harmon’s in February for an additional $2 off, making the total only $6.99.

Claims: “Versatile powder color corrects the most common skin imperfections, smoothes skin texture and evens out skin tone. All colors blend together to create a perfect canvas finish: Pink brightens, Green tones down redness and Yellow adds warmth. High-tech Japanese formula delivers a natural-looking finish that won't cake, crease or settle into fine lines.”

Ingredients: Mica, boron nitride, mineral oil, aluminum distearate, petrolatum, tocopherol, phenoxyethanol. May contain: titanium dioxide, iron oxides, carmine, ultramarines

Review: I’d seen a few advertisements for this product lately, and lord knows I need all the color-correcting I can get. So when I saw a new display at Harmon’s (and a generous discount from the normal price) I snatched it up without much of a second glance. It proudly proclaims itself as talc-free, paraben-free, fragrance-free, etc, which seems like the recipe to a perfect product.

When I finally got around to opening the packaging and getting a good look at the ingredients, I found two ingredients I never thought I’d see in powder: mineral oil and petrolatum. Shock! Horror! Everyone knows you’re not supposed to put mineral oil and petrolatum on your face! That’s just a bunch of clogged pored waiting to happen! Regardless, I decided to give it a shot and used it anyway.

I’ve been using it every day for nearly a month now. Does it cover my redness? No. Does it brighten my skin? No. Does it add warmth? No. Does it cake, crease, or settle into fine lines? Yes, yes, and yes! I don’t know if I’ve ever used a powder this bad before, and I’m not sure why I continue to use it.

The powder itself is pressed, but upon brushing it, comes off in large granules – much bigger particles than your average powder. It can make a mess over your clothes or whatever surface you’re applying it near if you're not careful.

Immediately upon application, it looks very powdery and very pale. I bought the translucent shade (I am fair and generally use the lightest shade of every makeup) yet it’s not really “translucent”, more like “opaque white” – definitely not a human skin color unless you’re going for the geisha or vampire look. It gives me a ghostly aura, and is especially powdery on and around my nose. It doesn’t blend in, even with a lot of brushing or rubbing. The powdery pale look goes away after a while, but it cakes around blemishes and settles in the creases of my eyelids in big cakey chunks by mid-day, so much that I have to wipe it off.

 No one needs to see my face this close up, but this is the unnatural powdery finish I'm left with after application (no other makeup on).

The one perk might be that, as powdery as it is, it doesn’t feel powdery or drying at all – probably because of the mineral oil and petrolatum. I haven’t been able to attribute any breakouts to the use of this product, which is a relief, but I’d stay away if petrochemicals usually bother you. Actually, I’d just stay away from this stuff altogether.

Packaging:  Cute little compact with a clear top and double-layered design with a mirror and brush storage underneath. The brush is adorable in pale pink, yellow, and green, but is unfortunately so rough and scratchy I stopped using it after the first try.

 Overall rating: D – HUGE disappointment :(

Would purchase again? No