Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Trash OR Treasures - October 2017

beauty, hair, nails, laundry products, skincare, vitamins, samples, hand soap
It's another round of Trash or Treasures so let's dive in to the circular file:

Out the Door Top Coat - A fave and continue to repurchase

Sephora Waterproof Eyeliner - I love this product but it dried out quickly

Paula's Choice Skin Balancing Pore-Reducing Toner - It's a repurchase product

Paula's Choice Resist Intense Wrinkle Repair Retinol Serum - Another repurchase product

Well Kept Screen Cleaner - These are a bit spendy for what they are but I love the size and portability.  I get them from Sephora when I need something to put me up to the $25 or $35 mark for a sample I want to try

Honest Company  Dryer Sheets and Wipes - Repurchase of both products

c. Booth Foaming Body Polish and Cleaner - I LOVE THIS STUFF!  It's like sand in a tub but it lathers

Brazilian Bum Bum - Very moisturizing but it is the scent that I love.  I ended up getting the larger one and the body spray as well

Emergen-C Vitamin C Chewables - I am a strong believer in the benefits of Vitamin C.  Unfortunately I cannot find these anywhere now.  I can only find the ones with other vitamins also included :(

Lancome Teint Idole Ultra and Estee Lauder Double Wear - The dynamic duo.  I use both of these everyday for my foundation applied with a Beauty Blender

L'Oreal Boost It, Paul Mitchell Worked Up and En Root Hair Spray - Boost It is really hard to find and a volumizing fave.  When I find it, I stock up.  Paul Mitchell Worked Up - I think I prefer the Hot Off the Press which actually comes in a larger bottle and En Root Hairpray - it's okay...I might repurchase.  I love the sugary scent

Pureology Hydrate and Orlando Pita Argan Gloss Shampoo - I love Pureology.  It use to have a stronger scent I love but I still find it moisturizing.  Orlando Pita was a great shampoo as well but my scalp seemed to react to it

The Laundress Signature Detergent - I am obsessed with this line of products and will continue to repurchase

Bath and Body Works Sicilian Lemon Foaming Hand Soap and Trader Joe's Lemon Kitchen Hand Soap - The winner is Trader Joes.  it doesn't dry out my hands like the Bath and Body works brand.  I continue to purchase the Trader Joe's

Too Faced Hangover - This is a decent primer but not sure it made a big enough difference that I would purchase the full-size

Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask - I ended up purchasing the Champagne one as I liked the shimmer.  All colors stay on your lips really well unlike so many moisturizing lip products

Paula's Choice Oil Reducing Cleanser, Clinical Instant Calm Redness Relief and Skin Recovery Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum - The only one I wouldn't purchase is the cleanser.  I don't think they do well at taking off all of my makeup at the end of the day (and most has worn off after 10 hours)

Monday, October 2, 2017

My First Sephora PLAY!

$10, subscription service, makeup, beauty items, sample sizes, monthly
It took awhile to reach the West Coast but Play by Sephora monthly subscription service is finally hear. 

The details:

$10/month - no obligation

50 bonus Beauty Insider points when you visit a local store

Includes 5 deluxe samples plus a fragrance sample

I forgot to do an unboxing picture as I was so excited to see what was included in the September box so I just took a picture of the flyer that was included. 

Each item has a description, tells why it was included and how to apply it.  

Touch in Sol eye shadow - Really pretty and seemed pretty easy to work with even though it is a metallic.

Sephora Collection Contour Eye Pencil - I am a huge fan of these.  I just wish it wasn't always black that gets in the sub boxes.  I use it for lining the upper lash line.

Algenist Genius Ultimate Anti-Aging Cream AND Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream - I really like my Paula's Choice products and am always hesitant to use something new on my face so unless I hear about how great it is, I use them for a hand lotion.  One of them, I think the Fresh, has a fragrance to it so that will definitely not be going on my face.

Wander Beauty Wanderout Lipstick in Wanderberry - I don't wear reds but this is a really pretty shade that I think would be flattering on most skin colors (if you don't mind rocking a bold lip).  Also, it doesn't come off!  But again, why red?!  A nude I think is a better choice for appealing to the masses.

Briogeo Hair Mask - I have received this brand in a few different boxes.  I like the sprays but not a fan of the mask.  I don't think it is that moisturizing.  Aussie is a better product in my opinion and if you want higher end Macadamia is the best I have found.

I'll continue to subscribe a little while longer to see if things improve. All-in-all I was not impressed.

Monday, September 18, 2017

First Impressions: Olivia Garden Thermal Round Brush

Thermal, round, ceramic, ion, bristles
Very rarely do I get excited about a brush.  I have used many variations over my lifetime and most all of them have gotten the job done, or so I thought.

Upon using the Olivia Garden brush the first time, I was in love!  

So many brushes I have purchased they are made in multiple parts leaving gaps for your hair to get stuck.  This brush is all one piece at the handle so no more tangles.

The other thing that I thought I needed was those balls at the end to protect my scalp.  All they do is fall off in your hair.  These bristles are amazing.  They don't hurt my scalp and my hair passes through them without issue.

It has a ceramic coated barrel which warms and retains the heat for more body.  The vent holes are also larger to allow for air to flow better than most brushes.

Another little perk, at the base, which I didn't capture in the photo, there is a metal knob.  Well, if you pull it out, it has a pointed piece (point hides in the base) that when flipped around sticks back in allowing for point to separate your hair.  BRILLIANT!

These brushes are a little more spendy.  I got mine at Ulta for $19.99 but if you use the $3.50 off coupon and EBates, it really isn't that bad!  Totally worth it in my opinion. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Another Simply Noelle Crossbody Bag

handbag, simply noelle, black, faux leather
I'm not going to say too much about this brand, Simply Noelle, as I spoke enough about that in my other Simply Noelle post but I wanted to show you another example of the beauty of this brand.

This crossbody is like a purse and a wallet in one.  The bag itself has two sides held together by the snaps shown in the top photo.  There is your wallet where you can keep your credit cards and money OR even your cell phone.  

In the back there is another pocket and inside the zippered compartments on either side of the wallet is plenty more storage.  You truly could use this bag for everyday and not feel like you are sacrificing space.

There are a variety of colors but this was the one I was drawn to.  I think it was around $45.  Again it is faux leather but magnificently made.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Techno Weenie Tuesday - Relax Melodies Relaxation/Sleep App

sleep, meditate, white noise, make your own, nighttime, iPhone, app
Because I have significant ringing in my ears, I have to have something playing in the background at night to block it out.  I have tried a few different "white noise" apps like aSleep, White Noise and Ambiance but Relax Melodies is unique in that you can build your own sounds.  Some of the choices that aren't shown are Zen, Campfire, Waterfall, Thunder, Slow Waves, Heavy Rain, Wind Chimes and Underwater.  There are more and if you upgrade to the Pro, you have even more choices.

On another screen there are Meditation options.  I haven't really gotten into those but may give it a try.  

The Favorites screen allows you to store your own favorite sounds that you build OR try one from the community board. 

Times is what it says.  You can set an alarm, shut the sound off after a certain amount of time, use the app as a nightstand clock or set up a bedtime reminder (which I never need - I love sleep).

The Pro version is currently $19.99 (one-time purchase).  I don't know that I would need that but it might be worth it down the road.

Being that it is a free app, I highly recommend if you are looking for a good sleep app.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Handbag Discovery - Mona B

recycled tent material, leather embellishments, Mona B, Crossbody bag, shoulder bag
As I mentioned in a previous post, I am really getting into boutique finds like my Simply Noelle bag. Another find while visiting Sunriver, Oregon is this Mona B. bag.

In Sunriver Village there is this cute little store with all kinds of goodies.  I could have spent so much money there but I was drawn to this bag.  The salesperson shared with me what ended up being the deciding factor.  The bags are made from recycled tent material.  It took me back to my childhood camping with my dad, setting up the tent and listening to the rain falling on it.  At that time I never thought about what happens when tents lose their ability to keep you dry inside.  

I love it when items are recycled rather than added to our landfills.  In this case, the tent material makes a very cool, unique handbag.  Each one is one of a kind because of the wear of the material.  To kick it up a notch, it is embellished with genuine leather.  Again there are plenty of pockets.  One on the front with two zipper pockets and one on the back.  My iPhone 7 Plus fits in either spot.  Inside there are two more device pockets and a zipper pocket.  The inside material is a little more lose compared to that of Simply Noelle, but this is a different style of bag.  This is your weekend, out and about bag.  You can wear it as a cross body or put it over your shoulder.  Love that flexibility.

This bag did cost $74.  A little more but it is genuine leather (and smells so good).  

You can find Mona B. bags on their website as well as Amazon.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Handbag Discovery - Simply Noelle

Lately I have taken a liking to neighborhood boutique shops.  It started recently with a "wine walk" where you taste different vineyards while shopping in different little shops. There I discovered Simply Noelle

This is what I like about the brand and this bag:

The quality of the material.  It is faux leather but you wouldn't know it looking at it.  It isn't flimsy at all.  

The inside material is also nice.  So many inexpensive bags the lining is loose so as soon as you pull something out, the lining comes with.  That is not the case with this bag.  

Another thing that I like is the interior phone pocket is landscape so it fits my larger iPhone 7 Plus.  But there is also still a zipper compartment.

Lots of storage. As you can see in the picture there are two zipper pockets in the front and another in the back.  This made transitioning from my larger bag to a smaller bag easy.  

Color and accents.  I actually punched another hole in the strap so that I could wear it more as a shoulder bag.  It has nice pulls that are secure and the added touch of the tassel I think just gives it added richness. The color was also a selling point.  Again, some colors just accentuate the gaudiness of the bag.  This one looks natural.

Guess how much this bag cost.  Lastly, my favorite thing is the price point.  This bag was only $49!  Almost what you would pay for a bag at Fred Meyer or Target. 

I ended up going back and getting a smaller crossbody bag for sporting events and such.  I'll put that picture on my FB page.

Lastly, and sadly, it is hard to find this bag in stores.  You can visit their website to find one near you OR I have found quite a few on eBay.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

First Impressions: Finishing Touch Flawless Facial Hair Remover

battery operated, facial hair remover, electric
If I was to spend money to professionally enhance my appearance, it would be on electrolysis.  The older I get, the worse it gets and I get tired of plucking.  Why is it that the hair on your head gets thinner but you get hair everywhere you don't want it?! And why does it grow overnight?!

In the past I have used the Sally Hansen cream, and although it works, I am hesitant to use chemicals like that on my face.  With that I started using those small razors.  The ones I have found that I like the best and are least expensive are from Dorco.  Weird name for a company but anyway...They work well but no matter which brand I always end up with scratches on my face.  It does work better if you use a shaving cream of some kind.  

Then I came across the Finishing Touch Flawless Hair Remover.  It is battery operated, small, sleek and lighted.  The light isn't much to talk about BUT the performance is.  I have only used it once but I am totally impressed.  It reminds me of the electric razor my mom had with the three blades similar to this one.  I will spare you the contents after a buzz over my face but for $20 it is totally worth it.  I got mine from Ulta.  Buy it using EBates and the discount coupons and you definitely cannot go wrong.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Techno Weenie Tuesday - My House is Going Techno

echo, alexa, dot, smart wi-fi plug, smart home, iPhone, app
One of the things I love about my iPhone is the ability to say "set timer for",  "directions to" or "read new messages".  Then I saw on Amazon that the Echo Dot was on sale for $44.99, I decided to take the jump.  I had NO IDEA!

As soon as I got it, I downloaded the app and set it up.  The reviews for the app were not great but I decided to give it a try vs the computer set up.  Honestly, it isn't that intuitive BUT it really isn't that difficult.  Just cumbersome.  Since setting it up we have settled two arguments (which I won), set multiple timers AND set up a shopping list.  That was a cool part I wasn't aware of.  It does require adding additional apps to your phone but now when I say "Alexa, add ___ to my shopping list", it does it.  Now when I go to the store I just look at the app.  The other bonus is our dog can now listen to audiobooks when we are gone.  If you subscribe to Audible, Cesar Millan did a study where it shows that dogs do better with audio books than music.  Hopefully Sampson doesn't understand everything being said in my Nora Roberts books.  

I loved the Dot so much that when I saw the Echo on sale for $99, I decided to get that.  It has 360 degree sound with a built in subwoofer. While getting that I also decided to get some wi-fi smart plugs.  I did a little research and landed on the Rockbirds plugs.  Only $23 for two.  They arrived today and I am totally impressed.  Again, it takes a little bit getting everything set up but once you do it is so worth it.  The sound on the Echo is pretty amazing.  The lights can now be turned on with my app OR by saying "Alexa, turn on the den lights".  I feel like I live in the Jetsons' home.  One of my favorite childhood comics where I never imagined so many things would come to life.  Now if we could just have that machine that applies your makeup. 

Just like the Apple Watch, it wasn't anything that I thought that I needed until I had it.  Now I can't imagine life without this technology.  

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Review: c. Booth Foaming Dry Body Polish & Cleanser

scrub, charcoal, body wash
This was one of the favorites in my New Summer Finds post and I thought worth giving a little more attention.

When you first open the tub of c. Booth Charcoal Foaming Dry Body Polish & Cleanser, it really does look like sand from the Oregon Coast.  There is no moisture inside whatsoever.  The main ingredient is pumice (like the rocks you find at Mt. St. Helens).

It is cruelty free, paraben and sulfate free and petroleum and mineral oil free.

What I love most about this product is that it helps with my oily skin.  It isn't just limited to my t-zone.  The scent is nice but doesn't linger once you rinse and a little does go a long way.  It does foam up but I also just add a little body wash to it as well.

I did make the mistake of leaving the lid off after one use and of course my husband didn't think to put the lid back on before he showered so it did get filled up with water.  Didn't make a difference other than it didn't last as long.

Highly recommend!

Savings alert:  Ulta often has c. Booth on sale and be sure to use EBates for extra savings.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Recent Empties - August 2017

laundry detergent, lotion, shave cream, mascara, sugar scrub, samples, neutropenia makeup remover, it cosmetics, paula's choice
Time to take out the trash...or maybe treasures.

The Laundress Signature Detergent - This is a more spendy detergent but I get at least the 54 loads as it says.  It doesn't take a lot and I love the scent!

e. Booth Honey Almond Firming Body Lotion - This is a favorite lotion but I don't know that it is really all that firming.

eos Shave Cream - Yes, Alba Shave Cream was my favorite but I think I have found a new one.

dr. Brandt Pores No More - This is my holy grail (so far) primer.  It does a great job of minimizing pores and evening out my skin tone.  Not sure that it makes my make up last longer but what it does do I am happy with.

Ulta Cotton Pads - See my comparison to the Swispers Cotton Pads

Samples Paula's Choice Skin Recovery Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum with Retinol and Paula's Choice Calm Redness Relief Moisturizer - I liked both and would probably purchase both

Skinfix Ultra Rich Body Butter - This is a great winter moisturizer.  It is thick, really thick, to the point it takes a little bit to rub it in but it is very moisturizing.  It has no scent.  I have a few others to get through but would repurchase.  

Tree Hut Shea Sugar Scrub - This is a repurchase.  I love it.  The scent, how it moisturizes and smooths.  

L'Oreal Voluminous Base - Don't waste your money on the high end brands before giving this a try!

it Cosmetics Bye Bye Redness - I have repurchased but it isn't something I reach for all the time.  I use it over my foundation to make it last a little longer.

Paula's Choice Skin Balancing Oil Reducing Cleanser - I am a big fan of Paula's Choice products but this is not one of them.  It doesn't get off all of my makeup.

Neutrogena Oil Free Makeup Remover - This is great for removing eye makeup without burning your eyes.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

New Insulated Stainless Tumbler

chill cup, 30 oz, stainless steel, straw, lid, stainless steel straw, amazon
I know, I know...I have a water bottle problem.

My favorite water bottle recently dropped to the ground and landed flat on the bottom jamming it so that it was slanted and no longer usable.  They no longer make the Hydracentials in white, that I could see on Amazon so decide to take another avenue with a tumbler style.  The Big Chill cup was one of the daily lightening deals on Amazon and it came with a stainless straw so I decided to give it a try.

The cup is insulated stainless steel, the lid is plastic with a slide that you can just drink from or there is a small little half moon so it fits a straw.  The straw is mandatory for me.  It was $16.95 I believe.  My thoughts:


I can put ice straight from the dispenser into the cup.  With the narrow opening of the Hydracentials I had to put the ice in a cup and pour it into it so that ice didn't end up all over the floor

It keeps my ice water REALLY cold for the entire day (I haven't tested it in a hot car, yet!)

It fits in my car cup holder perfectly

The price and that it is 30 oz

Stainless straw - No BPA so you can use it for hot or cold


The big ugly logo on the side of the cup!  I have to think that was a man's idea! I decided to put a chalkboard sticker on it until I can find something better.

The diameter of the cup is substantial and wouldn't want anything bigger for my hands/grip

The straw - I like ice cold water but when you drink it with this straw, it also gets ice cold and frosty to the point I worry about getting my lips stuck to it.  How embarrassing would that be?!


All in all, I like it and would repurchase IF I didn't see the hot pink or purple tumbler that is about the same size without the logo.  That one is next.  I also ordered some stainless straws that have silicone on the top so no more freezing lips.


I actually decided to return the tumbler.  I couldn't get past the large logo and would have had to spend more to cover it up.  Decided to give the pink one a try.  Review coming...

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Another Audible Book

Nora Roberts, Mystery, Thriller, audio book, audible
This will be brief.  

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I joined audible and finished Ready Player One as well as Fierce Conversations within a month I think. After completing those books I started Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman.  The best part about that book was the narrator (also the author).  He actually changed his voice for each of the characters.  It was awesome!  The storyline was a bit slow and somewhat predictable but it was enjoyable.  After finishing that book I started this one.  Nora Roberts The Obsession.  It was like Ready Player One in that the narrator was not impressive at all to start.  I also wasn't sure about the storyline and turned it off thinking I would just look for another book when I had a chance.  Thankfully the radio wasn't doing it for me so gave it another try.  The narrator became more engaged as the story went on and the storyline hooked me!  I am only on chapter 3 and new to Nora Roberts, although I know she is very popular, so I am anxious to continue.

Here's a little bit about the book I pulled from goodreads.com:
Naomi Bowes lost her innocence the night she followed her father into the woods. In freeing the girl trapped in the root cellar, Naomi revealed the horrible extent of her father’s crimes and made him infamous. No matter how close she gets to happiness, she can’t outrun the sins of Thomas David Bowes.

Update:  I finished the book quicker than I anticipated.  This was my first Nora Roberts book and I will continue to try others.  I love the language she uses, the way she develops the characters and the storyline.  Although I had a feeling about how it was going to turn out, it didn't take away from the suspense.  I didn't want the book to end.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

My iPhone Took a Dive...

packing material, drying material, iPhone savior
My iPhone decided to take a nose dive into the toilet this past weekend.  Please tell me I am not the only one who slips their phone into their packet only to go to the bathroom and have it fall out!!  

Although I took it out quickly, I realized that it may be death by drowning.  I had heard about the rice trick so as we were leaving I stuck the phone in a container of rice and crossed my fingers.  After returning about 7 hours later, no luck.  

Panic set in and I thought I better just deal with it and buck up for a new phone.  WOW!  The one I have I got for a lot less with a contract extension.  Guess that is no longer an option.  I decided I may as well go for the gusto then and get the 7 Plus.  But in one last attempt, I thought I would try something else.

I remembered I had been hoarding all of the silica gel packets I have ever received in packages.  I put them all in a baggie, stuck the phone in there and again, crossed my fingers.  Just to make sure, I stuck the baggie in the sun.  12 hours later, I closed my eyes and turned on my phone.  It worked!!!  Thank goodness I thought to save all those packets.  I think I also read that you can recharge them.  I need to do that just in case it happens again!

So now I have an iPhone 7 Plus setting on the table just waiting to be activated.  Part of me thinks wait til the 8 comes out but the more I think about it, the more I think I am just going to do it.  Then I have the 6 as a back-up.  Perhaps though I should consider a waterproof case.  :)

Sunday, July 2, 2017

First Impressions: Blue Apron

meal service, weekly, subscription, healthy meals, home delivery, blue apron
I don't know about you, but the daily "what do you want for dinner?" is one of my biggest challenges/aggravations.  So what I end up doing is just getting staples on the weekend and figuring it out as I go.  I do not have time to stop on the way home from work as I have to get home to take care of Sampson (our 140lb. German Shepherd) so I often spend my lunch break grocery shopping. Oh joy!

While out with the girls one evening, someone mentioned that they tried out Blue Apron.  I had heard about the service but hadn't really talked to anyone who tried it.  She said that it provided healthy meals with healthy portions and quality ingredients.  Granted, she admitted she isn't the home chef, but it intrigued me so later that week I got on the website.  I found a $30 coupon AND a $7.50 EBates with no obligation, cancel anytime.  I went for it.  What did I have to lose.  For $21.50 ($29 - $7.50) for three meals for two people it was a no brainer.

The box was delivered on Friday.  I should have taken a picture but it was a regular box and inside was a silver coated bubble wrap with all the ingredients inside along with two freezer packs.  The veggies looked amazing.  There were small brown bags each tagged with the meal that includes the miscellaneous items.

The first meal was the Cod and Tomatillo Salsa with a Sweet Potato and Zucchini Squash hash.  The instructions are very easy to follow.  The prep did take some time but I wouldn't say more than 20 minutes.  It came together quickly and tasted amazing.  I consider myself pretty apt in the kitchen and this actually provided some flavor profiles I would have never tried otherwise. 

Some points of interest:

Shipping:  The default is Friday.  I changed mine to Tuesday so that I have the weekday meals covered.  Weekends are easier to figure out or go out.  You can also ship to different addresses as you go if necessary.

Choices:  There are 6-8 meal choices.  They have made them easier since I first ordered which is nice.  I just wish there were more seafood options. Typically there is only one but there are multiple chicken choices.

Cost:  I think the regular price is $60 for 3 meals for 2 people.  Not too bad I guess.  $10 per person per meal.  The ingredients are of good quality.

Duration:  Skip weeks or cancel anytime.

Portions:  I am one who always makes more than anyone could possibly eat so what happens, we eat more.  These portions are "small" in comparison.  That isn't a bad thing, in fact it is healthier.  Just keep this in mind.  If you have big eaters (teenagers, active kids, etc.) you may want to get more servings to ensure everyone gets what they need.

I am going to finish the next two meals that were included this week and probably give it another try and see how it goes.  I love the convenience, the quality and the ability to try new things without having it give it much thought.  But is it worth the price?  Time will tell.