Saturday, May 28, 2011

It's Caturday!

Posting late in the day because Blogger was giving me some error message earlier today. Hmm. Enjoy your long weekend!

Monday, May 23, 2011

$118 worth of The Body Shop stuff for $18!


I got a super deal at The Body Shop the other day by stacking sales and coupons - I left the store with all of the above (plus a gift set not pictured) for only $18!

The first reason I came into the store was for a little event they had not advertised well (I went in the evening and they said I was the only person that day who knew about it!) where they introduced their new bronzer products and could give you a makeover using the products. I declined the makeover, but they showed me all the cool new items. Love Your Body members got a free lip gloss just for participating!

I still had another Groupon that I wanted to use before the end of the month, when it will drop in value from $45 to $40. They were having a buy-2-get-1-free promo for skin care and makeup, so I decided to use my Groupon for some random things. I got some Nutriganics eye cream and a Tea Tree night lotion, and grabbed one of the new Honey Bronze dry oil, which is a light shimmer oil with a hint of color. I got the Honey Bronze oil for free since it was the lowest priced item.

I also picked up a lemon body scrub, which was marked down from $16 to $10, and a cherry lip butter which was on clearance from $8 to $2.

The total worked out to be less than $50 after my LYB discount, so the cashier told me I should buy one more small thing in order to push it over $50, where I'd get a bonus LYB point. So I raced around the store trying to find one more thing, when I realized I needed a last-minute birthday present for a friend, so I scooped up a Hemp Skin Essentials gift set for $20.

Freebies:
1) Hemp hand protector from the Princess Bag (worth $10)
2) High-shine lip treatment for participating in the event (worth $6)
3) 50mL sized body butter from a coupon in the mail - free mini body butter with $10 purchase (worth $6)
4) Honey Bronze dry oil after B2G1 free sale (worth $14)

Paid:
1) Nutriganics eye cream $20
2) Tea Tree night cream $18
3) Lemon body scrub $16 $10
4) Cherry lip butter $8 $2
5) Hemp gift set $20

LYB discount: minus $7
Groupon: minus $45

The total price of everything I left with was $118, but after my Groupon, I ended up spending only $18, for a total savings of $100 or 85%! Of course, the Groupon itself cost $20, so I really spent $38 out of pocket. I made it to 8 LYB points though, which means I get a free membership renewal ($10) and $25 towards anything in the store. What am I going to buy with that $25?? I am so stocked up with products now, it's kind of scary!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Body Shop Princess Bag free gift week 2!

This week's free gift from The Body Shop's Princess Bag is the Hemp Hand Protector! This is one of my favorite hand creams and I recently used up my last tube, so this was a very welcome freebie!

Free products with EcoTools' Recycling Campaign!

EcoTools is teaming up with RecycleBank for a cosmetics recycling campaign! This one is called Choose to Live Beautifully and like last year's promotion, they will give you coupons for free products in exchange for your old beauty products! All you have to do is mail in your old brushes, body wash, lotions, or other products to the address listed on the website, and you will receive free product coupons (limit 2 per person) in the mail.

I love EcoTools, I use their brushes every day and they're great quality. In addition to brushes, EcoTools also makes lotions, body washes, lip balm and other cosmetics free of parabens and phthalates, as well as cosmetics bags, shower tools and other supplies . I didn't remember to participate in this promotion when they had it last year, so I'm definitely going to do it this time around!

Check out the full details on choosetolivebeautifully.com

Thanks to Sophie's Dish for the heads up!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Wet n Wild Fast Dry Nail Color test drive

I read that gel polish could be painted over with regular polish, and removed without harming the gel underneath. Since the grow-out was a little too visible for my liking after one week, I decided to do a cover-up with this new Wet n Wild polish I picked up recently.

This color is called "Buffy the Violet Slayer" and is from their new line of spring shades. They've been out for a few months but only recently have I seen them in stores around here. They're super cheap at around $1.29 a piece, and because the line is new, all the store stock is fresh (recently I've seen polish that's obviously separated and old on the shelves!)

The bottle has an odd round-ended flat brush that's supposed to disperse polish more evenly, but it didn't necessarily. It seemed to collect polish and deposit a large blob on my nails if I wasn't careful! It seemed a little too big for use on the toes too.

The polish did dry extremely fast and coated very well. The above photo shows only one coat (on top of the pale pink gel polish I have on), although I put two coats on my toenails. It's more of a dull satin finish, so I used a clear topcoat to get it shiny and glossy. I wasn't very precise around the cuticles, so it's a little uneven and lumpy in that area - but that's no fault of the polish, just my messy application.

I LOVE the color - this shade of purple is my favorite color in general - and I've never gotten so many complements on my nails before. I was repeatedly asked if I got my nails professionally done! Although technically the nice shape and current length of my nails is due to the gel polish, the purple is really eye-catching and looks great, even though I just slapped the polish on in a matter of minutes.

It's lasted about a week without chipping at all, so I'm pretty impressed. The other shades in this spring line are super cute too, so I might have to grab a couple more colors while they're still available!

It's Caturday!

And after a long week of nothing but rain, I'm excited for a sunny (or at least partly sunny) weekend! The kittens are now 7 weeks old and are so playful and active. Panini's even getting in on the fun and wrestling with them!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Old Navy One Day Wonder: $1 Flip-flops!


Last Saturday, Old Navy had a sneak preview of their $1 flip-flop One Day Wonder sale for Old Navy cardholders only. I know this is one of their most popular sales that they do yearly - last year when I arrived mid-afternoon I heard stories of the crowds and lines earlier that morning. There were massive tubs of flip flops, completely picked over with not much but black and white in less-popular sizes left, and still tons of people swarming them!

The cardholders pre-sale was just like a regular day at the store, I strolled in and had prime pickings of sizes and colors from the display wall. I'm not one of those people that wears flip-flops every day in the summer, but they definitely have their time and place, and I couldn't resist them in a rainbow of colors when they were only a dollar!

If you missed the pre-sale last weekend, the regular sale is going on tomorrow, May 21st - some stores are opening early at 7am! Go early and expect chaos!

Monday, May 16, 2011

I actually won something!

In the 3+ years I've been entering sweepstakes and giveaways and such online, I've only won 2 things that I can remember: a XL men's Tide detergent t-shirt, and a blank journal brandished with the Listerine logo, lol. So imagine my surprise when I won TWO things this week!

First: $20 gift certificate to Lulus.com from Seventeen Magazine (yes I know I'm too old to read Seventeen, but I do anyway :P)


Second: A kiwi coconut body butter from the awesome natural/organic brand Aromafloria (worth $30!)

I'm excited! :) Now I need to find something fabulous on Lulu's to spend my $20 on!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Body Shop Princess Bag free gift week 1!


Week 1 of The Body Shop's Princess Bag free gifts is their coconut shimmer body butter (worth $16)! This was also the first free gift during their holiday Joy Bag promotion - and I still haven't opened that one!

Deals & clearance finds at Target!

I was all excited to figure out this sweet deal at Target yesterday all by myself, only to return home and find it posted about on several blogs I read. Oops! Well, the deal was, Target had a printable coupon for $3 off 2 John Frieda products. There was a $3 off Root Awakening by John Frieda coupon from the 5/1 SmartSource paper insert, of which I had two. In total, it would be $9 off two Root Awakening products.

When I got to Target, the Root Awakening products were marked as $7-something a piece, which was still an OK deal with $9 off. But when I got to the register, they rang up as $5.09! They were on price cut but were lacking the signs that said so.

So I paid $1.18 (or $0.59 a bottle) for shampoo and conditioner that's usually $7-something a piece!

These Old Spice body wash sets were on clearance for $2.80, originally $4. The set includes a 16 oz (regular size) bottle and a 8.4 oz half-size one. We had a coupon for buy-one-get-one-free Old Spice body wash, which worked with this set! So we got two sets - two full size and two half sized bottles - for only $2.80. There's only one set shown in the picture because my brother already took the other :)

I also found these e.l.f. makeup sets on clearance. E.l.f. is cheap enough already, most of their products being $1, but it's good quality stuff. These sets were $4.99 for 5 products, but were marked down to $2.50! One set has 3 different color liquid eyeliners and 2 eyeliner pencils (one shimmer and one brightening) with built-in sharpeners, and the other has 4 dual-color eyeshadows and a double-sided eyeliner pencil and eyeshadow brush. I don't know what I'm going to do with so much eyeliner, but I couldn't resist the deal!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

It's Caturday!


And all is well in kitty land! Have a nice weekend!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

My first gel nails


I'm not big on manicures - it seems like a waste of money to me, especially when the polish chips off within a few days. And I almost always end up smudging or messing up the polish before I even leave the salon. If I paint my nails, I do it myself, which is sort of infrequently. Lately I've gotten into doing my nails more often, and I've been using ridiculous colors (like purple or sparkly blue) in the spirit of spring.

But last Friday, my mom and I decided to treat ourselves to gel manicures! She had recently gotten them done and really liked the results. They're not artificial nails, but a special polish that hardens with UV light. This technology has been around in Japan forever and they have super cool designs and colors (gradations! sparkles!). I was always tempted to get my nails done while I lived in Japan, but it was rather expensive and I never had a good enough reason to get a fancy manicure.

It's only recently been available around here, and our local salon only has about 10 colors to choose from. I chose the "strawberry smoothie" color, a pale but shimmery pink. They apply a thick clear coat, followed by two coats of color, each coat treated with the UV light for a minute or two. The result is a super smooth and shiny manicure with no drying time - it hardens instantly and doesn't chip! Because of the thick gel layer, your nails also feel harder and stronger.

It's been almost a week and my nails look as good as when I stepped out of the salon. You can see a tiny space by the cuticle where they're growing out (my nails grow FAST - both a blessing and a curse) but it's not really noticeable.

I do like the look and feel of the nails, but I think it will just be a thing I do for special occasions and not something I'll do regularly. It's not exactly cheap at $32 (plus tip), although I had a $5 off coupon. And because regular nail polish remover doesn't affect them, they need to be removed at the salon - not a problem if you're getting them re-done, but having to make a special trip to have them taken off isn't really a commitment I want to make!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Review: L'Oreal The One Sweep Eyeshadow

L'Oreal The One Sweep Eyeshadow

Price: MSRP  $9.95

Claims: "The One Sweep Shadow is a breakthrough new way for anyone to get a professional eye shadow look.  The unique applicator is shaped to fit the eye and apply three shades in one step to define, color and highlight.  It's fast, easy, and mistake-proof."


Review: I received this product for free through the social marketing site BzzAgent. Since the campaign's launch, I've seen TONS of negative reviews for the products everywhere, but I fully intended to try it out and review it with no bias.

The intent of this product is to apply a full eye look with minimal effort. So I think it's only natural that makeup enthusiasts and people who are awesome at applying eyeshadow think this is silly - they don't need a gimmicky product to do it for them. But for those who aren't as skilled, it could be a great time-saver.



The brush is large and odd-shaped, and the application takes a while to get used to. I kept getting smudges in places they weren't supposed to be, like on the outside corners of my eyes. However, I did manage to get it to work the right way after using it a few times. My eyelid must be shaped in the way the product was designed for, because I heard a lot of complaints about it not being one-size-fits-all, but it fit me fine.

I found it really hard to take a photo of my own eyelid - might update later with better photos if I can manage to take one.

I really liked the look of the dark purple on the bottom. This is how I usually do my eyemakeup, with a darker eyeshadow color close to my lash line (in place of eyeliner), and it looked properly and cleanly applied, no worse than when I manually do it myself. The problem was with the rest of the shadow. The top color looked no different than the middle color, and they were both very sheer and shimmery. It was too shimmery for me, almost greasy looking. I prefer darker shades without so much gleam.

The shadow also didn't last very long at all. It creased up and faded from the rest of my eyelid in a matter of hours, even with a primer applied.The darkest shade seemed to last better, and I have been using it alone from time to time, applied with a regular brush along my lash line.

So while the concept works for me, the shadow itself leaves a lot to be desired. I probably would have preferred a completely different color pallet, as these shades were not something I normally wear (although I do like the purple) and I don't think they do anything to enhance my eye color. If the shadow lasted longer and the shades were more to my liking, I'd give it another shot. It is very fast and easy when you become used to applying it, and it's been great when I have minimal time to get ready in the morning.

Overall rating: B-

Would purchase again? In a different shade, if I had coupons for it!

It's Caturday!


And it's been a rough week for kitties :( Cordelia was scheduled for surgery on Monday morning. Thankfully, it looked like the medicine had kicked in, and the abscess wasn't bad enough to warrant surgery anymore. She still needed to be brought in for daily checkups to have the area checked and cleaned. At the last visit, the vet was on the fence - she might need surgery after all. I'm going to bring her back next Monday to see if it's gotten better over the weekend - if not, surgery is in order, so keep your fingers crossed that she's improved!


Over the weekend we noticed Panini acting strange - panicking, hiding, crying out when she was touched. We brought her in to the vet when we went to get Cordelia on Monday. It turns out that due to a fight with Willow, she had a very swollen bite wound on the base of her tail! She needed to have the area shaved and cleaned, got a shot of antibiotics and another rabies shot (although she is up-to-date on her shots, they want to give a booster whenever something like that happens). She was sent home with painkillers that made her into a cracked-out junkie! She's feeling better now.


But the next day, baby Giles wasn't feeling good. I came home from work to find him face down on the floor and panting, so I scooped him up and brought him to the vet with Cordelia. I didn't realize how serious it was until they swept him into the back room and about 30 minutes had passed until I heard anything. He had severe pneumonia, which is untreatable in kittens with a low chance of survival. He was suffering, even in an oxygen tank, and the vet said the disease would probably kill him even if he struggled to hang on a few more days :(

So the humane option was putting him to sleep. I was heartbroken - poor little guy, he was so strong and healthy up until then! Kittens are so fragile, their health can take a drastic turn in such a short time. I miss his little striped face every day :(

Here's to hoping next week is a better one!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Did you get your Big Fat Payment from Ebates?

It's the end of the quarter for Ebates which means I got my Big Fat Payment deposited to PayPal today! :) I got $18.73 back - not a huge amount, but definitely something! The most from one purchase ($3.75) was when I got 7.5% cash back on a pair of slippers I ordered for my dad.

Since I joined Ebates mid-2009, I've gotten $191.90 total cash back! I love the fact that I'm getting money from doing what I do normally (which is SHOP!) and it's no extra effort. Of course, I immediately spent my chunk of change received today on some new perfume from eBay, but hey - it's less money out of my own pocket!

If you got your payment today too, how much did you get? If you're not yet a member of Ebates, you should join!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Massive savings at The Body Shop!


I went to check out The Body Shop while at the mall the other day. I had my Groupon worth $45 (which I paid $10 for) and was looking for a good deal. I love the Nutriganics moisturizers, but at $24 and $22 a piece, I can only afford to buy them when they're on sale (and then I stock up!).

The sale they were having was a bag deal - there were these very large, high-quality pink canvas bags that would be good for overnight or beach use. I think the theme was the Royal Wedding and being treated like a princess. You bought the bag for $12 and got 30% off everything inside. This probably wouldn't be too good a deal on its own unless you're buying huge quantities of stuff (which I don't need, I just needed to stock up on my Nutriganics!) but Love Your Body members got an additional 20% off that day too. They also included a promo like the ones they sold at Christmas time - you got coupons for free items, one per week. Last time they gave away full-sized products worth over $60 total!

What I got:

Nutriganics day cream - 2 @ $22 each
Nutriganics night cream - 2 @ $24 each
Tea tree makeup remover cloths - $12
Promotional bag - $12

Total price: $116
30% off bag promo: minus $31.20
20% off LYB members: minus $16.96
Subtotal: $67.84

Minus $45 Groupon: $22.84

So after you count the $10 I paid for the Groupon, my grand total was $32.84 before tax! I'll also be receiving 4 free items over 4 weeks (starting May 9th), which I will eagerly post about as soon as I get them :)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Super shopping at Bath & Body Works!


I hit up Bath & Body Works the other day just to see what the Fragrance Event was all about. Last Saturday you would receive a tote bag and free full-sized bottle of Into the Wild body lotion with any purchase. I didn't plan on buying anything, but my mom wanted to, and we had some coupons. So we ended up walking out with the above haul for only $36 or 70% off!

They were having the usual buy-2-get-1-free or buy-3-get-2-free deal. We had two coupons: $10 off $30, and a free signature collection (up to $12) with any $10 purchase. We were told they weren't stackable, so we were only going to use one, but we ended up buying more than we planned, and each of us checked out separately so we could each use a coupon (and each get a tote bag!).

The breakdown:

Bought 3 signature collection items @ $12 each = $36
Used $10 off $30 coupon = $26
Got two free items ($12 each) due to the B3G2 promo
Got free tote bag ($5) and full-sized body lotion ($10.50)

Total value: $75.50
Total spent: $26

2nd transaction:

Two candles @ 2 for $10 (regularly $9.50 each)
Used free signature collection item coupon ($12)
Got free tote bag ($5) and full-sized body lotion ($10.50)

Total value: $46.50
Total spent: $10

So in total, we only spent $36 for $122 worth of stuff - 8 body products, 2 candles, and 2 tote bags!